'Vindictive' man torched couple's new home - after failing to buy it

Matthew Green, 37 and of North Pickenham Road in Swaffham, set fire to and destroyed a house on Shoemakers Lane in...

Matthew Green, 37 and of North Pickenham Road in Swaffham, set fire to and destroyed a house on Shoemakers Lane in Swaffham on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, after he tried to buy the home last minute to annoy the buyers. - Credit: Norfolk Police

A "selfish and vindictive" man set fire to a couple's new home - days after failing to buy the property himself.

Matthew Green, 37 and of North Pickenham Road in Swaffham, set fire to and destroyed a house on Shoemakers Lane in...

Matthew Green, 37 and of North Pickenham Road in Swaffham, set fire to and destroyed a house on Shoemakers Lane in Swaffham on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, after he tried to buy the home last minute to annoy the buyers. - Credit: Norfolk Police

Matthew Green, 37, of North Pickenham Road in Swaffham, set fire to the house on Shoemakers Lane in Swaffham on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.

Norwich Crown Court heard it came after he tried to buy the home at the last minute to annoy the buyers.

Green wanted to buy from underneath them after the couple had pulled out on the sale of two of his properties in Swaffham due to delays and increasing costs.

The court was told he went to the address sometime between 5pm on June 26 and 5pm on June 28 and set fire to it.

The couple only found out about the fire after passing by it ahead of a dinner, planned to celebrate the exchanging of contracts, to show friends what their new home would look like.

When they pulled up on the drive-way at around 5pm, they discovered there had been a fire that had destroyed the front of the property.

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The fire resulted in the potential new owners not completing the purchase and losing their £32,500 deposit amid fear for their own safety.

Matthew Green, 37 and of North Pickenham Road in Swaffham, set fire to and destroyed a house on Shoemakers Lane in...

Matthew Green, 37 and of North Pickenham Road in Swaffham, set fire to and destroyed a house on Shoemakers Lane in Swaffham on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, after he tried to buy the home last minute to annoy the buyers. - Credit: Norfolk Police

Green was given a 12-month suspended sentence, ordered to pay £8,796 for damages at Norwich Crown Court on Wednesday, March 3 after pleading guilty to arson at an earlier hearing.

He was also ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work and a 20-day rehabilitation programme, as well as being handed a restraining order.

After the case, Det Insp Richard Weller said: "This was a selfish and vindictive act motivated by greed and control.

"What should have been an exciting move to their dream home quickly became a nightmare for the victims.

"I hope today’s result provides some closure to those who suffered from Matthew Green’s actions and reassures the public that we will thoroughly investigate crimes such as this to secure a successful prosecution.

"I am proud of my team’s efforts in securing this conviction for the victims.”

Matthew Green, 37 and of North Pickenham Road in Swaffham, set fire to and destroyed a house on Shoemakers Lane in...

Matthew Green, 37 and of North Pickenham Road in Swaffham, set fire to and destroyed a house on Shoemakers Lane in Swaffham on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, after he tried to buy the home last minute to annoy the buyers. - Credit: Norfolk Police

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