Two men jailed for arson attack

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Two men who set fire to the doors of a property and set a car alight in South Weald, have been sentenced to a total of eight years in prison.

Basildon Crown Court heard on Thursday December 12 that 22-year-old Brandon Olley, of Harrow Crescent, in Romford, and 29-year-old Bradley Wright of Bromley Road in Ardleigh had travelled to Weald Road from Harold Hill on February 5 this year, arriving outside the property shortly before 11.35pm.

Olley approached a Ford Focus that was parked on the drive and upended petrol over the car, which he had purchased at a garage just 20 minutes before.

Wright was seen pouring the remaining contents, which was in a plastic container, onto two doors to the property. Olley then lit a rag and set the car and both doors alight.

No one was injured in the incident. The pair then left the scene in a VW Golf.

Ten days later, officers attempted to stop a VW Golf in Ipswich Road, Colchester. Wright, who was driving, refused to stop and was eventually detained on the A120 near Coggeshall.

A grey parka jacket with a fur trimmed hood was discovered in the front of the car, which matched one of the coats from the night of the fire, and the number plates it had been displaying ten days before were discovered in the boot. 

A series of incriminating texts were discovered on Wright’s phone, including one on the day of the fire, where Olley claimed to have ‘got an empty drum’.   

Olley handed himself in on March 12.

In addition to linking Wright and Olley through text messages, and CCTV footage, detectives had discovered a link to Olley’s Instagram account which showed him in a blue puffed jacket with red lining, like the one seen on CCTV the night of the fire. 

Olley received eight months for arson to a vehicle, three years for arson with recklessness to whether life was endangered  and eight months for handling stolen goods, all to run concurrent.

Wright received four years for arson with recklessness to whether life was endangered and 12 months for dangerous driving, to run consecutively. He was disqualified from driving for four years and this will begin on release from prison.

He received eight months for arson to a vehicle and two years for handling stolen goods, to run concurrently.

Detective Inspector Steve Nelson, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Firstly, I want to thank the bravery of the people impacted by this case.

“To have your lives endangered in the one place you’re meant to feel safe, it’s unthinkable.

“They have shown nothing but dignity throughout this investigation and I’m pleased that Olley and Wright had the decency to spare them the ordeal of a trial.

“This investigation was a huge team effort, with lots of different teams across the Serious Crime Directorate putting in their expertise and time to bring this dangerous pair to justice.”

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]