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Dad faces jail sentence for arson

PUBLISHED: 22:16 28 January 2002 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 March 2010

JUST one year after he was cleared of raping two lesbian lovers, Ipswich father Kenneth Parry is today facing the prospect of a jail sentence for arson.

JUST one year after he was cleared of raping two lesbian lovers, Ipswich father Kenneth Parry is today facing the prospect of a jail sentence for arson.

The 39-year-old, who was memorably branded "an idiot not a rapist" by his ex-wife, torched a friend's house in a fit of drunken rage following an argument, a court heard.

The jury at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court took three hours to find him guilty of arson and endangering life.

Parry, who denied the charges, had enjoyed a "an up and down" friendship with arson victim Graham Luke Hilton, the court had heard.

He and Mr Hilton, commonly known as Luke, "shared an interest in alcohol" and at times drank to excess at pubs and each other's homes.

Last September the relationship had sunk to its lowest patch following an argument and four days later on October 12 Parry, who had been drinking heavily, set fire to the upstairs bedroom of Mr Hilton's Surrey Road home in Ipswich.

Parry, who had been spotted in the town's Falcon pub just an hour before the blaze took hold, maintained he had spent the entire night at the watering hole and could not remember what time he left because he was so drunk.

He will be remanded in custody until sentencing on February 18.

It was a very different scene one year ago when cheers were heard from the public gallery as a jury took less than ten minutes to clear Parry of two offences of rape.

It had been alleged that on separate occasions Parry had raped two single mothers who had previously had a lesbian relationship.

One of the women claimed that Parry had raped her in his car in the car park while she was six moths pregnant. The other had claimed that several months later Parry had visited her home at night and had sex with her against her will while her young child was asleep in a pram in the same room.

Speaking to The Evening Star Parry's ex-wife Sheila said she had always known he was innocent. "He's a bit of an idiot, but not a rapist," she said.

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