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30 July 2011, 08:44
A serial arsonist from Corby has been sent to prison for an indefinite period to protect the public.
Jonathan Watson, 30, received an indeterminate sentence at Northampton Crown Court , with a requirement to serve a minimum of six years before he can be eligible for parole.
He was sentenced for six offences of arson and arson with intent to endanger life between 2006 and 2010.
A joint investigation between the police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Arson Task Force was set up on 13 May 2010 when Jonathan Watson was discovered at the scene of a fire at a house in Reigate Walk, Corby.
He had pushed a wheelie bin against the front door of a property in Buckfast Square, Corby and set it alight in July 2006.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Kinchin, leading the investigation, said: "On the night of the arson attack on the 13th of May, Jonathan Watson presented himself as a hero, who whilst out walking in the early hours had discovered the property alight and assisted in the rescue of the adults and children inside the house. However the investigation identified a number of inconsistencies in Watson's account and examination of his mobile phone handset revealed photographs of a series of smaller fires the same night, including the setting a vehicle on fire."
"A subsequent examination of his home computer revealed more photographs placing him at deliberate fires going back several years, leading to him being charged with ten offences.
"He appears to have enjoyed setting fires and watching the aftermath. Over years he has shown disregard for the danger he put people in, this ended with him setting fire to a house containing both sleeping children and a disabled grandmother. He pushed a mattress across the front door and set it alight, the fire took hold rapidly - filling the house with toxic smoke. It was only due to the prompt action of a passing taxi driver and the Fire Service that no lives were lost.
"He is clearly an extremely dangerous individual and his sentence reflects the danger he posed to the community, but more importantly I hope his imprisonment will help his young victims to be able to sleep soundly again."