Two jailed for setting fire to man in Southend

Two people have been jailed for 24 years each for the attempted murder of a man they set on fire.

The victim, aged in his 40s, had been attacked outside his home in Southchurch Road, Southend, in the early hours of October 30, 2019.

He had gone outside after taking a phone call from Alan Archer, whom he knew.

CCTV footage showed him being doused with a fluid from a petrol can and then set alight.

He managed to get away before being followed by the suspects, when he was then assaulted and set on fire for a second time.

The victim sustained burns on 60 percent of his body and lost four toes.

Jane Reilly, 53, of Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff, and 33 year-old Alan Archer, of Dexter Close, Grays, were later arrested and charged with attempted murder.

They had been arrested after police officers attending the incident had become suspicious of a vehicle being driven past the address several times and they even stopped to ask the victims’ partner if she was ok.

At their trial, the court heard they had attacked the victim after Reilly was angry he had pawned a watch, worth only a few pounds, that she had given him.

They were convicted following a trial at Basildon Crown Court on May 19 and at the same court the following day were sentenced.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Neil Utley, from Southend CID, said: “The victim suffered an unimaginable ordeal at the hands of Jane Reilly and Alan Archer.

“Their actions were calculated, callous and cruel.

“What the victim experienced would have been terrifying and will affect him mentally and physically for some time.

“The length of these sentences highlights just how serious this incident was and while nothing will turn the clock back for the victim, I hope this will help him move forward.”

The jury at the trial could not decide on verdicts for two other men.

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Mick Ferris

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