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Herne Bay man Samuel Dudley sets fire to home

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

by Paul Hooper

A Herne Bay man with money troubles set fire to his flat... and then selfishly walked away - leaving a disabled pensioner and children at risk.

Canterbury Crown Court was told how father-of-two Samuel Dudley, aged 22, began three blazes at the four-flat Victorian building in Canterbury Road in January.

After ripping out the fire alarm, he left the building and telephoned a former partner and his family - who then went to the house and saw smoke.

Prosecutor Donna East said that sleeping residents - which included a pensioner with hearing problems and young children, were eventually led away unharmed.

She added that firefighters -fearing Dudley was still in his flat - risked their lives to ensure he hadn't been trapped.

When police found Dudley, he was at the home of the mother of his two children smoking a cigarette - and when asked why he hadn't alerted his neighbours said he didn't know.

But Judge Simon James - in jailing him for four years - called it a grotesquely selfish offence in which the lives of innocent people had been put at risk.

Instead of alerting the emergency services, he had wallowed in self pity.

The judge also ordered that after his release from jail he will be on licence for an extra two years.

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