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Irish woman 'set fire to home of man she met on dating site', court told


Judge's gavel

Judge's gavel

Judge's gavel

A woman has gone on trial accused of setting fire to the home of a man she met through a dating website.

Alison Greer (41), from Hillside View in Newtownabbey, faces a single count of arson endangering life following a fire at a Housing Executive property in the Rathcoole area last summer. She denies the charge.

Opening the case against Greer at Belfast Crown Court, Crown prosecutor Kate McKay said the alarm was raised in the early hours of July 10 last year, when a local resident called the Fire Service to report a blaze at a house at Knockane Way.

A neighbour heard a car stop outside the house and saw a woman get out of the vehicle at around 3.30am.

She noticed the woman was carrying a white plastic bag and heard her rapping the door before witnessing her "trying to put this bag through the letter box".

Mrs McKay said that a short time after the woman drove away, the neighbour heard an alarm and when she looked out of her window, she saw flames coming from the front door of the house.

The property in question was empty at the time, but the tenant was planning to move in that day. The total amount of damage caused was almost £2,000.

Mrs McKay said that the man had met Greer on a dating and social media website called Badoo, and that they had had a short-lived non-romantic relationship.

The friendship, the court heard, came to an end, but they "re-ignited their friendship" and had lunch on the afternoon of July 9 - the day before the arson attack.

During lunch, the man told Greer he was moving into the house at Knockane Way. The man went back to Greer's house later that evening, but the Crown say that at that stage the man claimed Greer "appeared to be under the influence of drink" and "in due course" he left.

Mrs McKay said that the man received a number of calls from Greer that evening "to the extent that he turned his phone off to avoid further telephone calls". However, at around 5am the following morning he received a call "with the unfortunate news that his new home had been damaged by fire."

The jury heard that was part of the investigation, police seized Greer's mobile. She was subsequently interviewed to give her version of events and "she denied she had anything to do with setting the fire" at the property.

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph