Spalding

Man jailed after setting girlfriend’s flat alight

A convicted killer set fire to his girlfriend’s flat after she told him their relationship was over, leading to a four year jail sentence Lincoln Crown Court was told on Monday.

James Quantrill locked himself in the bathroom of the flat at Long’s Wharf in Spalding after telling his partner Samantha Parsons “We’re going to die together”.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said Ms Parsons was on the phone to the emergency services and in the process of reporting what he was doing when she smelt smoke and realised that he had started a fire.

Mr Howes said: “She became hysterical when she realised he had started the fire. She was in a flat that was locked. She had a key in her bag but in the panic of what was going on she couldn’t find it.”

Police were already on their way. Officers forced their way into the flat and Ms Parsons immediately ran out of the front door.

The bathroom door was then forced open and Quantrill was found unconscious on the floor of the smoke-filled room. He was dragged to safety before police then evacuated the entire block of flats.

The blaze burned itself out leaving the bathroom fire damaged with smoke damage to the remainder of Ms Parsons’ property. Police officers who went into the flats were badly affected by the smoke.

Mr Howes said that the arson occurred after Ms Parsons ended their 10 month relationship.

“She indicated to the defendant that she wanted to terminate their relationship. It was perhaps not a happy relationship. Both parties in the past had resorted to ringing the police complaining about their partner.”

The court was told that Quantrill was given a five year sentence at Nottingham Crown Court in January 2008 for manslaughter following an incident when he was 16.

Quantrill and another teenager kicked and burned a helpless 27-year-old man before throwing him into the River Welland in Spalding.

Quantrill, 28, of Willesby Road, Spalding, admitted a charge of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered as a result of the incident at Ms Parsons’ flat on September 2 this year. He was jailed for four years.

Judge Andrew Easteal, passing sentence, told him: “This was a fire that you started deliberately. It was made all the more difficult to combat because you locked the door. The only sentence I can pass is a significant prison sentence.”

Mark Watson, in mitigation, said Quantrill has mental health and drug problems.

“This was a spontaneous act. There was no planning. This was a man who was very much in crisis. He was trying to take his own life.

“He was addicted to class A drugs. He had taken them and then learned of the impending loss of his partner on whom he relied. Things came to a head and he didn’t have the tools to cope.”

Mr Watson said that since being remanded into custody Quantrill has been put on medication and there has been a marked improvement in his mental health.