Arson killer has sentence reduced

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THE ARSONIST who killed a Bulwell grandmother in a devastating fire has had eight years slashed from his minimum jail-sentence.

William Rowbotham was 18 when he torched a house on South Snape Close, Snape Wood Estate, on Thursday June 25 2009.

Inside were Susie Southern (53) and her husband, Tony.

Mr Southern managed to escape but was unable to get back inside to rescue his wife, who could be heard screaming for help before she perished.

A jury at Nottingham Crown Court found Rowbotham guilty of murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

He was given a life sentence and ordered to serve a minimum of 14 years. But those convictions were overturned on appeal in February and replaced with ones of manslaughter and reckless arson.

A Court Of Appeal judge decided that the original convictions were unsafe because of Rowbotham’s mental state. The trial heard he had in IQ of just 57, which placed him in the bottom two per cent of the country.

He also had a fascination with fire and used to start blazes in local woodland before calling the fire brigade to watch them fight the flames.

Now Rowbotham (20), of Raymede Drive, Bestwood Estate, has been re-sentenced.

He has been jailed indefinitely for the protection of the public but will be allowed to apply for parole after a minimum of six years, rather than 14.

At the trial, the jurors heard that he had binged on vodka at a party before pushing wheelie-bins against the door of Mrs Southern’s house and filling them with wood to start the fire.