Court turns down Eastboure arson appeal

Lewes crown court
Lewes crown court

A dangerous alcoholic who drunkenly torched his ex-girlfriend’s flat after she dumped him has failed to overturn his potentially lifelong jail term.

Martin Leslie Haines, 56, was told by his victim in August 2009 that their relationship was over and she wanted the keys to her flat back.

But, rather than taking the news lying down, his response was to let himself into her home a week later.

He waited for her, drunk and naked, having set a fire and written her a note inscribed with the sinister motto, RIP.

The fire he set caused £26,000 worth of damage to the property and Haines was arrested nearby.

Haines, of Elms Avenue, Eastbourne, was caged indefinitely for public protection - which is almost identical to a life term - at Lewes Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered in April 2011.

He was ordered to serve at least three years behind bars before the Parole Board could even consider him as a candidate for release.

Lord Justice Aikens, Mr Justice Openshaw and Judge Anthony Morris QC, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, heard Haines plead for his open-ended sentence to be overturned and replaced with a fixed term, giving him a definite release date.

Haines had been found to pose a danger to society and a high risk of committing more serious offences so long as he continued drinking.

Judge Morris told him he was “alcohol dependent and unable to stop” and had still not fully addressed his problems.

Rejecting his challenge, he said there were “no arguable grounds” on which Haines could appeal.