R v T.S – A case of Arson With Intent to Endanger Life

George Scott’s client, T.S. was a 44-year-old female. She was accused of setting off a timed firebomb underneath her neighbour’s car.

The firebomb exploded in the middle of the night and the fire brigade were called to put it out. Luckily they arrived very quickly.

T.S. was a close neighbour and was friends with the occupant and her family. She had been with her that very night. But due to the fact that she had also been seen out in the Close in the early hours and also that she behaved a bit strangely after the fire she became a suspect.

The police discovered that the device consisted of a bottle of flammable liquid wrapped in cloth with a long wick. During house-to-house enquiries the defendant (my client) told the police that her outside cupboard door had been opened and a bottle of white spirit was missing. The police did not bother to investigate this.

The forensic reports came back and indicated that the defendant’s DNA was found on the wick of the device together with another unknown person’s DNA.

The defendant was therefore arrested and interviewed. In interview she told the police that she had woken in the early hours and had smelt ‘smouldering’ she had gone outside to check on a neighbour (who lived the opposite way to the house where the fire was) as he was an alcoholic who had set fire to his house before! She knocked on his door and he was still up (drinking) and there was obviously no fire there.  She therefore thought it had ‘come in on the wind’ (they lived near Sussex Downs) and went back to bed. In the morning she had been told of the fire. She went to try to speak to the neighbour concerned but was given short shrift, which she didn’t understand and this had made her angry and upset.

So the case came to the Crown Court and she was represented by George Scott, extradition lawyer. The evidence was carefully picked apart and the jury found her Not Guilty be unanimous verdict. Therefore, instead of facing 7 years’ custody for Arson with Intent to Endanger Life, on 30th September 2016 the client walked free.