Bexhill man jailed after setting fire to neighbour’s front door

Lee Batchelor. Photo courtesy of Sussex Police. SUS-181024-152016001
Lee Batchelor. Photo courtesy of Sussex Police. SUS-181024-152016001

A Bexhill man who set fire to his neighbour’s front door has been jailed after a hearing at the Court of Appeal.

Lee Batchelor, 40, used a bottle of white spirit to start a fire outside his neighbour’s flat in Preston Road, on May 12, after growing upset with the noise coming from the property, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The building’s fire alarm alerted the victim to the incident, and she was able to help her friends escape through the window before putting out the fire.

Batchelor was originally sentenced at Lewes Crown Court in August, where he was given two years’ imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete a rehabilitation activity and unpaid work, and pay £500 compensation to the Housing Association.

However, the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, referred his sentence to the Court of Appeal as he felt it was ‘unduly lenient’.

After a hearing at the Court of Appeal last week (October 18), Batchelor’s sentence was increased to three years and two months immediate imprisonment.

Speaking after the hearing, the Solicitor General said: “This was a serious act of reckless arson, which could have been life-threatening for not only those targeted but others living the building. It is important that Batchelor’s sentence reflects this.”

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