Jailed: Man set woman's family home on fire after campaign of harassment

Harry Page, 24, of Hedgemans Road, Dagenham

Harry Page, 24, of Hedgemans Road, Dagenham - Credit: Essex Police

A Dagenham man who set fire to his victim's family home and subjected her to a campaign of harassment and abuse has been jailed.

Harry Page, of Hedgemans Road, was jailed for four years and handed a 10-year restraining order protecting the “petrified” woman and her family at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday (July 26).

The 24-year-old pleaded guilty to one count each of arson, burglary, stalking involving serious alarm or distress, assault and disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress.

He will remain on licence for another two years after serving his sentence as he was deemed to be a dangerous offender by the courts, police said.

Describing the impact of his crimes, the victim said that Page had "taken my life without killing me".

In September last year, the woman was out having lunch with friends when a video call to the group showed Page inside her home in Chelmsford.

Police arrived to find he had broken in through the rear door of the house and her bedroom had been trashed, resulting in hundreds of pounds of damage.

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While the woman was making a statement to officers at a nearby police station, Page called her phone more than 40 times.

He also sent her threatening emails and repeatedly called her friends, demanding to know why she wasn’t answering.

Later that evening, Page re-entered her home before nearby officers saw smoke rising from the back of the house and found the rear room was on fire.

Page later admitted to deliberately starting the fire, which caused more than £200,000 worth of damage and the loss of irreplaceable family memories and their belongings. 

The woman told police that she had been experiencing harassment and torment for months before the incident.

Page was arrested a few days later, charged and remanded in custody.

Essex Police PC Jenny Clarke, the investigating officer, said: "This is an awful example of someone setting out to ruin the life of another person, purely because they haven't been able to manipulate them and get their own way.

"It's truly despicable and if it hadn’t been for the bravery of the woman who came forward, I think Page would have continued to torment her for the sheer pleasure of it.

"People like her are the reason we do this job - they deserve answers and to see the perpetrators held accountable for their actions."