Felixstowe: Jealousy led man to start hotel fire
A JEALOUS boyfriend who feared his partner was seeing another man started a fire at a Suffolk hotel where she had gone for a drink, a court has heard.
Cory Sheppard, 29, went to the Ordnance Hotel in Felixstowe after he had been drinking and set light to some towels outside a first-floor room, Ipswich Crown Court was told.
Robert Sadd, prosecuting, said a couple and their two young children had been staying in an adjoining room and had quickly become aware of the fire, resulting in it being put out by the landlady before it spread.
Sheppard, of Selvale Way, Felixstowe, admitted arson and assaulting a policeman with intent to resist arrest.
Sentencing him to a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years with supervison by the probation service, Judge Rupert Overbury said Sheppard had started a fire in occupied premises.
“It could have spread and caused substantial damage or injury or even loss of life.”
He said although the offence crossed the custody threshold it was in the public interest that Sheppard received help for his alcohol misuse.
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The judge said that while Sheppard was under supervision the probation service would help him with problem solving, victim awareness and address his alcohol misuse as well as supporting his involvement with the community mental health team.
Judge Overbury warned Sheppard that if he breached the suspended sentence order he would be brought back to court and could be jailed.
Mr Sadd told the court that on December 29 Sheppard’s partner had gone to the Ordnance Hotel to celebrate her birthday.
At around 8pm, Sheppard went to the hotel and started the fire and was recognised on CCTV footage by the landlady.
When police went to arrest Sheppard he assaulted an officer and kicked a police dog, said Mr Sadd.
Sheppard told police he felt jealous because he thought his girlfriend might be seeing someone else.
Steven Dyble, for Sheppard, said his client wasn’t suffering from a serious mental illness but had a number of serious issues including alcohol misuse that needed to be addressed.