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Arsonist jailed for torching historic Wythenshawe Hall

Jeremy Taylor

[A]n arsonist who torched a historic landmark in Wythenshawe has been jailed.

Jeremy Taylor, 27, of Hall Lane, Baguley was sentenced today (Friday 18 August 2017) at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square to four-and-half-years after setting fire to the Grade II Wythenshawe Hall.

He previously pleaded guilty to arson.

The court heard how shortly before 3.30am on Tuesday 15 March 2016, Taylor used newspaper and matches to start five separate fires around the Tudor manor.

One of these locations was right in front of the oak entrance door which caused the majority of the estimated £5 million worth of damage.

Firefighters tackled the blaze for hours before being able to bring it under control.

No one was injured but a large part of the roof and upper floor of the timber-framed 16th century home was sadly destroyed.

Inspector Luke Breakspear from GMP’s City of Manchester Team, said: “This was a mindless act that intended to destroy a historical building that has great significance to the people of Wythenshawe.

“People were shocked by the needless damage caused to a piece of our local and national heritage. Wythenshawe is a great place to live, work and visit and the strong community spirit is testament to this.

“Taylor’s senseless actions could have taken an innocent life and I am just thankful no one was hurt.

“I would like to thank our colleagues at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service for stopping the fire spreading and causing more damage as well as their support throughout this investigation.

“I hope the community feel that justice has been served today and I am satisfied that Taylor is now where he deserves to be.

“Wythenshawe Hall is a beautiful building and hopefully in the near future we will see it open its doors again to the people of Manchester.”

Gary Logan, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: “Jeremy Taylor, for reasons only known to himself, caused extensive damage to one of the oldest and most loved buildings in Manchester that will cost in the region of £4.75 million to repair.

“His actions almost destroyed the 16th Century building and put at risk the lives of fire-fighters who attended to extinguish the blaze.

“Throughout the case he denied starting the fire, but we worked closely with the police to build a strong case against him, including CCTV and telephone evidence which proved he was in the area at the time of the fire. His DNA was found on a match next to the scraps of singed newspaper which were found at the scene.  However on the first day of the trial, he eventually admitted to the offence and pleaded guilty to arson.”

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