THE MAN who killed a Warndon resident by setting fire to his flat has been jailed for ten years.
Daniel Martin was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court today (Friday) after pleading guilty in May to the manslaughter of Andrew Heath who was found dead following a major fire at his flat in Chedworth Close in December 2011.
Three wheelie bins were placed into the porch of the 52-year-old’s front door and set alight, which caused a fire that gutted the property and killed Mr Heath.
Martin, aged 25 and previously of Canterbury Road in Ronkswood, was also given three years in prison for two burglaries committed in 2012, and six months for an ABH committed in the same year by Judge Mrs Justice Thirlwall.
He will serve these sentences concurrently.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Williamson, the senior investigating officer in the case, said: “We welcome this sentencing and I hope this significant milestone will help his family move forward.
“However, sadly Andrew’s elderly parents died before Martin was brought to justice and the tragedy is Les and Helen Heath never got to see him prosecuted.
“This has been a long and complex investigation and was a tough case to crack: it took 10 months of investigative work before Martin was charged.
“Lacking direct evidence from the crime scene, which was destroyed by the fire, it took old-fashioned detective work and time for us to build a strong case against Martin. It was the ultimate challenge for a detective and I would like to thank the many people who worked on the investigation, especially the small team of officers who worked for months on the case with dedication and commitment.
“After ten months of investigation we managed to gather statements from a handful of witnesses in whom Martin had confided his guilt; evidence of him being in financial debt to Andrew Heath; incriminating BBM messages from Martin’s girlfriend’s phone; evidence of his clothing being burnt; as well as inconsistencies and lies in both his accounts and those of people who sought to protect him.
“Two people have since been prosecuted for perverting the course of justice.
“Every piece of evidence we collated boxed Martin into a corner where he had no choice but to plead guilty.”
The investigation team’s inquiries also uncovered that Andrew Heath had a history of sexual offending against teenage boys dates back to the 1980s and 90s, before he moved to Worcester.
DCI Williamson added: “Whatever Mr Heath did in his past, no one deserves to die in such a terrible way and his death has had a huge impact on his decent, honourable and loving family.
“No-one has the right to behave so recklessly that it takes someone else’s life.
“When he was killed, his family asked the police and the public to help them find some answers; I hope this conviction has gone some way to do that. I would like to thank all those members of public who offered statements and came forward as witnesses; their efforts have led to directly to today’s conviction.
“They have helped take a dangerous and prolific offender of the streets of Worcester.”