Sudbury: Arsonist who posed as blaze rescue hero is jailed

A SUFFOLK man who was hailed a hero after rescuing a grandmother from a fire at her home has been locked up for 18 months after he admitted starting the blaze.

Russ Jarvis, 20, appeared in the EADT shortly after the fire in January when he was reunited with 72-year-old Jean Cooper, of Tudor Road, Sudbury, whose life he had potentially saved.

At the time Mrs Cooper, who had been asleep in her bedroom when the blaze began in the early hours of the morning and was only alerted when Jarvis banged on her door, praised his bravery and said: “It doesn’t bear thinking what might have happened if he hadn’t been there and acted so quickly.”

However, shortly afterwards Jarvis was arrested for starting the fire which spread from a caravan to Mrs Cooper’s house as well as four other blazes which caused a total of more than �13,000 damage.

Yesterday, on the day Jarvis was due to stand trial at Ipswich Crown Court, he admitted five offences of arson and was sentenced to 18 months detention at a young offenders’ institution.

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Sentencing him, Judge Rupert Overbury said it was fortunate that no-one was seriously hurt as a result of what he did.

He said Jarvis, of Sycamore Road, Sudbury, had been hailed a hero in the EADT for helping Mrs Cooper and her dog out of a dangerous situation. “You weren’t the hero of the hour – you were the villain who caused misery and damage to the various home owners concerned,” said the judge.

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He said Jarvis had set light to wheelie bins and in the case of Mrs Cooper and the Bradbury family of Newton Road, Sudbury, the fires had spread causing significant damage to their homes.

After yesterday’s hearing, John Bradbury said he believed the lives of his family had been saved by his baby daughter Callie waking up in the middle of the night.

Mr Bradbury said that having been woken up he had gone downstairs and found flames licking around the gas and electricity mains of his Newton Road home.

He had immediately got his wife Emily, son Oliver and Callie out of the house and tried to extinguish the flames with a neighbour until the fire brigade arrived.

The fire, which got into a cavity wall, caused �12,000 damage including extensive damage to the gas and electricity supply and resulted in the family moving into temporary bed and breakfast accommodation.

Lindsay Cox, for Jarvis, said he had been drinking on the night of the fires and had expressed remorse for what he had done.

He said that instead of fleeing from the scene of Mrs Cooper’s fire he had done the right thing by alerting her when he realised the fire had spread to her home.

He said Jarvis had been in custody since January and the experience had been a wake-up call for him.

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