A man who set fire to a house in Chester in an attack deemed ‘deliberate and selfish’ is now facing six years behind bars.
Paul Riley, aged 52, of no fixed address pleaded guilty to arson at Chester Crown Court and was sentenced to six years on Friday, 15 December.
The court was told how Riley committed his crime on the morning of Tuesday, 26 September at a house in Capenhurst after carefully planning his attack.
Riley then called his victim shortly after setting fire to her home and gloated about the crime he had just done, telling her ‘your house is on fire’. She returned to find her family home ablaze.
Police raced to the address where they spotted Riley near the scene. As he was arrested he look puzzled and told officers ‘but there was no one in the house.’
The court heard how while searching Riley’s room at a hotel in North Wales, officers discovered receipts for the purchase of white spirit bought the day before the fire. A bottle of white spirit was also found at scene of the crime.
On sentencing the judge described Riley’s actions as being clearly ‘deliberate and spiteful’.
As well as his prison sentence, Riley was also handed a permanent Restraining Order.
Detective Constable Stephen Owens, of Chester CID, said: “Without doubt the consequence of Riley’s crime has been a traumatic ordeal for the victim and her child.
“It’s sad to think that a cruel, nasty attack has left the family not only without a home at Christmas but all her child’s memories destroyed in the fire. The permanent restraining order handed to Riley provides reassurance and protection to the victim indefinitely.
“The victim and her family have dealt with this admirably and are now rebuilding their lives.”