Woman set fire to home of man she met on dating site
Published 13/04/2016 | 09:25
A woman who started a fire at the house of a man she met on the internet in a "revenge attack" has been jailed.
Alison Greer was told at Belfast Crown Court yesterday that she would spend 15 months of her sentence in custody and an additional 15 months on licence.
The 42-year-old mother-of-one, from Hillside View in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, denied a charge of arson with intent to endanger life.
Throughout the trial, Greer maintained she was innocent of setting fire to the Housing Executive property at Knockane Way in the Rathcoole area of Newtownabbey, which was targeted in the early hours of July 10, 2014.
An accelerant was poured through the letterbox of the property and set alight, which resulted in around £2,000 (€2,500) worth of damage.
Luckily, the male occupant, who was in the process of moving in to the house when it was targeted, was not in the property at the time.
However, items which he had already moved into the home sustained smoke damage.
During the trial, the jury heard evidence from a neighbour of the male occupant who saw a woman getting out of the vehicle at around 3.30am.
The neighbour noticed that the woman was carrying a white plastic bag, and she heard her "rapping the door" before witnessing her "trying to put this bag through the letterbox".
The neighbour said that she saw the woman standing at the front door for around 10 minutes before leaving, and a short time after the woman left the area in her car, the neighbour heard an alarm going off.
When she looked out of her window, she saw flames coming from the front door of the house, prompting her to call the fire service.
The jury also heard that the male occupant of the house at Knockane Way had met Greer on a dating and social media website called Badoo.
They were told that prior to the incident, they had a non-romantic relationship that lasted for a short time.
After the friendship came to an end, however, they met on the afternoon of July 9 - the day before the arson attack.
Despite her claims of innocence during the trial, Greer was found guilty of arson with intent to endanger life.
During sentencing, Judge Gordon Kerr QC revealed that since being found guilty of the offence, Greer had admitted it was her.
He said she claimed she acted out of a wish for revenge for an alleged incident which occurred between her children and the man's children when they met for lunch the day before.
However, Judge Kerr told Greer that her "supposed revenge" was well-planned and required her to obtain the items necessary to set fire to the house.
The judge also told Greer that although she has admitted her guilt, she has shown "little insight" into her offending.