Man who petrol bombed house in 'revenge attack' is jailed

Caelan Ricketts petrol bombed a house in Stowmarket

Stowmarket man Caelan Ricketts has been jailed for two-and-a-half years - Credit: Suffolk police

A man who petrol bombed a Stowmarket house in a "revenge attack" after he was assaulted a month previously has been jailed. 

Caelan Ricketts, 19, was seen on CCTV cycling to the house in Hill Rise at around 10pm on June 29 last year with another man, Ipswich Crown Court heard. 

The victim, who was in the living room of the property at the time, heard a smashing sound and came outside to find flames around 60cm high, Richard Kelly, prosecuting, told the court. 

The woman was able to extinguish the fire with water from her house, and then discovered fragments of a broken Budweiser bottle.

The court heard that Ricketts was the victim of an alleged assault by one of the woman's sons in May 2020, in which he required hospital treatment.  

The son was not in the house at the time of the attack because he had been remanded in custody, the court heard. 

Police recovered two pieces of CCTV footage of the incident, which showed Ricketts cycling to the home and the Molotov cocktail being lit, Mr Kelly said. 

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The petrol bomb caused around £400 worth of damage to the home, the court heard. 

Ricketts was arrested and denied his involvement in police interview, claiming he was at home at the time. 

Ricketts, who had 15 previous convictions for 31 offences, was described in a report as having an "ongoing feud" with the woman's son, the court heard. 

Joanne Eley, mitigating, said Ricketts, who was 18 at the time of the offence, had a "troubled upbringing". 

"He is a young man with a very complex mental health history," she said. 

Miss Eley said Ricketts had suffered flashbacks as a result of the serious assault in May 2020, which required an operation and saw him spend a number of days in hospital.  

Ricketts, of Ipswich Road, Stowmarket, previously pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered. 

Sentencing Ricketts on Wednesday, Judge Emma Peters said the offence was "clearly a revenge attack". 

"I accept you were the victim of what was a very serious assault. However, there are ways to deal with things," she said. 

The judge said preparing the petrol bomb showed a "clear amount of planning and premeditation". 

Judge Peters said she accepted Ricketts was someone who had had "a lot of troubles over the years", but added it must have been "a very frightening attack". 

Ricketts was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a young offenders' institution and will serve half of that sentence in custody before his release on licence.