Pub arsonist captured in Spain, after decade

A BRITISH arsonist, who escaped to Marbella for 10 years, has been jailed at last, after taking £2,500 from an unknown source to torch a local pub. 

Richard Bowman, 38, crashed his car into the Granary Pub in Titchfield, Hampshire, and razed the building, just weeks after it had been featured on Gordon Ramsay’s TV show, Kitchen Nightmares.

One of the owners avoided almost certain death after deciding to look after the couple’s sick child, rather than stay above the pub that night.

Bowman, of no fixed address, admitted to arson at Portsmouth Crown Court earlier this year and sent to prison for five years.

But a decade earlier, while Nigel and Sally-Ann Nieddu saw their business empire crumble because they were wrongly accused of being behind the fire, Bowman was ensconced in Marbella.

A forensic investigation of the blaze revealed Bowman’s DNA, which resulted in a warrant being issued for his arrest.

But he continued to live the good life, until the authorities caught up with him in April, the court heard, from prosecutor Matthew Pardoe.

“Police went to his address and work and spoke to his girlfriend after the fire, but he had disappeared,” said Mr Pardoe. “He left the country in February 2008 after selling his Audi TT car and went to Spain. But he was brought back to the UK this year and pleaded guilty to the offence.”

The Granary was completely destroyed by the blaze, and, with the insurance company refusing to pay out the £800,000 needed to repair the building, it was left to the Nieddu owners to foot the bill.”

Mr Pardoe added: “With the couple being falsely accused of an insurance job, it stopped them receiving any remuneration they were due.”

Mrs Nieddu’s victim-impact statement, read out in court: said: “I feel very lucky to be alive as I was due to stay there, but I decided not to after my son was poorly. If we had stayed there, we would probably be dead.

“Suddenly we were trying to fend off the bank, insurance company, local authorities and even travellers, who had started using the premises.”

Mrs Nieddu added: “Our 26-year marriage broke down, after we became different people.”

Daniel Reilly, defending, said a remorseful Bowman was now a transformed man, who had been accepted to work as a listener for the Samaritans while in jail.

A prison officer, where Bowman has been remanded, described him as “polite, courteous with excellent behaviour, who coaches other peers how to improve”.

A letter from the defendant, read out in court, said: “I would like to apologise for the hurt I caused all those years ago.”


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Posted by on Sep 7 2018. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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