Jailed indefinitely the Wisbech arsonist who turned up to watch as fire crews tackled the blazes he started

A WISBECH man described as a “pathological fire-setter” who put the lives of his neighbours at risk was jailed indefinitely for the public’s protection.

Jason Brammer, 36, who was responsible for a string of blazes even used one elderly man’s disability scooter to start a blaze in the lobby of a block of flats, in another he used a pram.

In many instances and despite the lives of the elderly and families with young children being endangered, Brammer would watch as fire crews tackled the blazes he had started.

Cambridge Crown Court was told yesterday that police and the fire service tracked the suspected arsonist’s offences and it was because fire officers had noticed that he always turned up to watch at a number of blazes that the net began to tighten.

Brammer lived at Wellington Terrace until February 2007 when he moved to Tindall Close.

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Operation Cisco which was set up with view to catching the fire bug showed that there were 83 deliberate fires within 500m of Wellington Terrace and Tindall Close between February 2002 and December 2010.

That compared to only six within 500m of Tindall Close between July 2011 and 29 February 2012.

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Brammer who has been in custody for the last eight months pleaded guilty to two offences of arson with intent to endanger life or being reckless on 18 February 2010 at Wellington Terrace and on 5 July 2011.

In between these two incidents Brammer also set fire to a cardboard box outside a flat in Bath Road on 2 August 2010 and a Biffa waste bin on 2 November 2010 in Little Church Street.

He asked the judge to take those two offences into consideration. And the court was told that he has also provided information about 45 other occasions which would clear up the outstanding blazes being investigated under Operation Cisco.

Judge Anthony Bate passed an indeterminate sentence for public protection, branding Brammer “a pathological fire-setter” and a dangerous offender.

He told Brammer: “You pose a high risk of serious harm to past and present neighbours.”

He said Brammer would have to serve a minimum of three years before he could even be considered for parole. But this does not mean that he will automatically get parole.

“Ultimately your eligibility to be released on licence, if and when that happens, is for the parole board,” the judge told him.

In August 1994 Brammer was given three years detention as a juvenile for arson.

Prosecutor Sara Walker said a smoke alarm went off about 9.30pm on 18 February 2010 in the Wellington Terrace flat of 80-year-old Joseph Jolly (who died last year).

Smoke was coming in under his door and he opened a bathroom window so he could breathe but he was unable to leave his home because he had limited mobility. It was his disability scooter which was on fire in the lobby of the 12-flat block. He had to be given oxygen when he was rescued by the emergency services.

A woman on the ground floor was unable to climb out of her window until a police officer smashed the window lock, she added.

Brammer was spotted by firemen watching as they tackled the blaze.

On a July evening last year a pram was set on fire in an under stair cupboard in Tindall Close, a block of four flats.

Resident George Brenchley, 77, pulled the burning pram outside to prevent the fire spreading, the court heard.

Brammer, who lived upstairs, had been drinking and treated the incident as a joke. Residents told police and fire brigade investigators they felt Brammer had something to do with it.

When arrested after the Tindall Close fire, Brammer told police he had been drinking and was “buzzing”. He denied starting the fire.

Mitigating, Maryam Syed said Brammer finally had been honest about what he had done.

She continued: “He is a troubled individual.”

She said he had self-harmed in the past and had been diagnosed with a personality disorder and was addicted to alcohol.

Sentencing him, Judge Bate said if the fire at Wellington Terrace had taken hold “anyone asleep or without agility to escape easily upstairs was at risk of being cut off and in mortal danger”.

He praised the fire service’s prompt action.

Judge Bate said: “It was plain to police and fire service that a distinctive pattern of local arson was emerging during your tenure of these premises and I commend the careful joint investigation by Fire Station Manager Martin Boome and DC Ralph King.”

A consultant psychiatrist had noted the excitement Brammer got from the intervention of the fire service and he had been frequently seen watching at a number of fire scenes.

“Officers came to know you as someone they might expect to see there,” said the judge.

Drink underpinned his offending, added the judge.

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