London

Man jailed for life for setting fire to Clapham gay bar

Jason Fossett Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Jason Fossett pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life

A man has been jailed for life for deliberately setting fire to a busy London gay bar for a second time.

Jason Fossett, of Norwood, was caught on CCTV setting alight rubbish he had piled against the fire exit of the Two Brewers, Clapham High Street.

The 46-year-old told the court he could not remember starting the fire after "having a couple drinks".

He was sentenced to life in prison on Friday at London Crown Court.

Previously, Fossett had pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life at the same court.

He was traced by police after using a bank card to pay for drinks in the Two Brewers on 20 March - the night of the attack.

At the time of his arrest, he was wearing similar clothes to that of the person in the CCTV, the court was told.

Officers also searched his home and found a red leather satchel that matched one seen on the CCTV. They also found receipts from the Two Brewers for that night.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption The fire exit of the Two Brewers was damaged after numerous rubbish bags were placed against it and set alight

In 2004, Fossett was jailed for eight years for arson with intent to endanger life after targeting the same venue.

Fossett's motivation for the attack is still not known. However, police said there was no suggestion it was a hate crime.

Paul Waterman, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "Fossett is clearly a dangerous character who deliberately went out of his way to set fire to the bar in a carefully calculated attack.

"It was sheer luck that the fire was spotted in its early stages to prevent any further damage or anyone sustaining any injuries."

Fossett must serve a minimum of three years and 244 days.

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