Welwyn Garden City man jailed for arson

PUBLISHED: 17:40 20 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:11 26 October 2009

The torched flat

The torched flat

A MAN who caused £25,000 worth of damage to his ex-girlfriend s flat after torching her clothes with a homemade flamethrower has today (Friday) been jailed. Ashley Draper, 21, who also goes by the surname

A MAN who caused £25,000 worth of damage to his ex-girlfriend's flat after torching her clothes with a homemade flamethrower has today (Friday) been jailed.

Ashley Draper, 21, who also goes by the surname Churchyard, used a can of deodorant and a cigarette lighter to set fire to a wardrobe containing clothes and shoes following a drunken argument with his former partner on September 14, 2008.

After lighting the fire, he left the flat and headed to his parents' house, where he was arrested early the following morning.

Appearing at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, Draper, who wore a grey crew neck jumper and a black beaded crucifix, appeared relaxed, at one point giving his watching family the thumbs up.

Prosecutor Michael Speak said that Draper had started the fire as revenge for an earlier incident, in which his then-girlfriend had set fire to some of his clothing.

Mr Speak also told the court that, following his arrest, Draper said: "I did it and I know it went up well.

"Actually I didn't mind it going up anyway - she deserved it."

In mitigation, Jon Swain, for the defence, said: "This was a tit for tat matter.

"This is an offence which doesn't have the intention to endanger life.

He added: "This young man recognises now the significance of what he did and is anxious that the court should not come to the view this could ever happen in the future."

In sentencing Draper, of Caponfield, WGC, to two-and-a-half years in prison, deputy circuit judge Colin Colston QC said: "This is a serious offence.

"Your learned counsel descibe this as a tit for tat offence.

"That is not the how this court describes it."

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