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Last Updated: Friday, 28 September 2007, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Sacked builder jailed for arson
St Albans Crown Court
Gordon Hammersley was jailed at St Albans Crown Court.
A builder has been jailed for 15 months after he set fire to the doors of a Hertfordshire couple's home six months after they moved in.

St Albans Crown Court heard Gordon Hammersley acted in revenge having been sacked for urinating on Catherine and Matthew Cashmore's patio in Hatfield.

Hammersley, 41, of Dagenham, Essex, had been drinking before he used a blowtorch to start two fires in May.

Judge Marie Catterson also gave him a year's driving ban for drink driving.

The court was told problems between the Cashmores and Hammersley began in March 2007 when they complained about him talking very loudly on his mobile phone beneath their bedroom window.

He was working on a new estate on which they were living.

Formal complaint

Then, in April, Mr Cashmore caught Hammersley urinating at the front of his home and a formal complaint was made to Hammersley's employer, Bovis Homes.

He was sacked, but six weeks later Hammersley drove from his home in Dagenham, Essex, to the Cashmore's home where he started fires, the court heard.

Two passing youths spotted the flames at the couple's front and back doors and extinguished them, but the fires had damaged the doors, and Mrs Cashmore's car which was parked nearby.

In court he admitted arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered, and being drunk in charge of a vehicle.

Defending, Daniel Jones said Hammersley, who was described as a self-confessed alcoholic, had no memory of what was going through his mind at the time.

After the case, Mr Cashmore said: "It is frightening to think about it. Had the fire not been put out by the passers-by, the house would have been ablaze and Catherine would have been trapped."

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