A VENGEFUL arsonist who set fire to a neighbour’s flat killing beloved pets has been jailed for nine years.

David Grothier, 49, wrapped tea towels around lit pieces of wood which were then pushed through the two top floor flats in belonging to mother and son Catherine Purchases and Jack Hymus in Gazelle Court, Colchester.

In Mr Hymus’ flat, the fabric set fire to clothes which were hanging on the back of the front door which then spread to the rest of the property.

The blaze killed three-month old German Shepherd puppy, Shadow, as well as a cat, a chinchilla and two budgies.

Grothier continued to deny the incidents but was found guilty of arson with intent to endanger life and attempted arson during a trial at Ipswich Crown Court.


During a sentencing hearing today, the court heard Grothier, of Chinook, Colchester, had a grudge against Ms Purchases after she rebuffed a romantic advance from him and she punched him in the face.

Mr Hymus had also made a statement after witnessing Grothier assault another neighbour Andy Claridge in a separate matter.

Judge David Goodin QC said: "You had the motive for revenge against both.

"It is well known smoke can kill and fire causes horrible damage."

It is estimated the fire caused £33,000 worth of damage.

Gazette: Scene - inside the flat, in Gazelle Court, Colchester

Grothier recently appeared on a documentary series called Nightmare Neighbours From Hell after a feud with other residents of Chinook.

Earlier this year he was convicted of damaging CCTV cameras which had been put up to try and catch him in the act, before the row erupted when he threatened the couple with a knife.

He was cleared on a separate actual bodily harm charge and found not guilty by a jury of racially aggravated harassment.