Bebington widow tells of relief after neighbour is found guilty of arson attack
A PENSIONER told of her relief after a neighbour who firebombed her Wirral home was convicted.
Beryl Geen, 82, of Acorn Close, Higher Bebington, lost all her possessions in the attack, which happened weeks after she was too ill to renew her house insurance.
Suzanne Martin, 48, was found guilty of arson with intent to endanger life at Liverpool crown court last week and was warned she could face a substantial prison sentence.
After the verdict, Mrs Geen said she was relieved the case is now almost over.
She said she was lucky to get out of her bungalow alive after it was set alight in the usually peaceful community on March 25.
But Mrs Geen said she lost all photos of John, her husband of 43 years who died almost two decades ago, as well as his extensive collection of classical music when the blaze gutted her home.
She said the fire ripped through her small bungalow within minutes, destroying everything she owned.
She added: “I was lucky to get out alive, lucky I had left my keys in the back door.
“Everything was gone – all my clothes and shoes. All I had was the nighty I was wearing. I lost my jewellery and a locket John had given me.”
Judge David Aubrey QC ordered psychological reports before sentencing Martin, saying she had “shown no remorse”.
Martin denied arson with intent to endanger life but the jury was unanimous in their guilty verdict.
Mrs Geen’s son-in-law Geoff Kelly said he had once argued with Martin several years earlier after she complained about where he and his wife had parked, but the pensioner said the defendant had targeted her and other neighbours, adding: “The last two years were the worst.”
Even so Mrs Geen said she was surprised when Martin was arrested. She said: “I had a feeling but was still shocked when she was arrested. I could not believe she would do something so bad.
“In my 82 years, I have never known anyone like her.”
Mrs Geen moved back into her bungalow four weeks ago after staying with her daughter.
She said: “It was like starting afresh.
“I was given tables and chairs, a cabinet, things from people I do not even know, and Riverside Housing has been absolutely marvellous.”