Arsonist burned down pregnant and deaf ex-partner's Battersea flat with daughter inside

A close up picture of Harry Owusu-Manu
Harry Owusu-Manu, of Southwark, was found guilty of attempted murder over the fire in Battersea -Credit:Met Police

An arsonist who burned down his pregnant and deaf ex-partner's flat with her daughter inside will serve a life sentence. Harry Owusu-Manu was found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated arson with intent to endanger life, religiously aggravated stalking and having a lock knife in a public place on February 23 following a five-week trial at the Old Bailey.

On April 25 last year, Owusu-Manu set fire to a doormat and shoved it beneath the Battersea door - which then engulfed the flat. Owusu-Manu - of New Kent Road, Southwark - tried to cover his tracks by spray painting a CCTV camera black.

But police found footage of his distinctive orange van arriving minutes before the blaze. Further enquiries found Owusu-Manu had visited the area in the days before the attempted murder.

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Dashcam footage recovered from the van itself caught the moment Owusu-Manu made his way to the flat to start the blaze. A further recording captured by the dashcam also led detectives to where Owusu-Manu had tried to discard the clothes he wore during the attack.

Detective Constable Megan Gittins investigated the case and said: “It is no exaggeration to say Harry Owusu-Manu made his ex-partner’s life a misery with his behaviour. The victim’s home and new baby items including clothes, cot and toys were all destroyed.

“Owusu-Manu refused to accept that she did not want to be in a relationship with him anymore and set about causing her physical and mental harm. He began posting derogatory and Islamophobic stories on Instagram but his behaviour soon escalated when he attempted to murder not just his ex-partner but her young daughter and unborn child.

“He also showed extreme disregard for the lives of other residents who could have been seriously injured by his dangerously misguided drive for revenge.

“I want to send a clear message to anyone who is concerned about the behaviour of a current or former partner - the Met is here for you.”

'I have lost so much that was dear to me'

The victim said: "It was devastating that because of this man’s hatefulness I have lost so much that was dear to me. I have been deeply traumatised and can never forget the horror of that night. I’m just so grateful to the London Fire Brigade for rescuing us and that my children and I are alive. I truly thought that we were going to die.

"This has changed my life. Losing my lovely home and worse, my sense of security and safety is forever changed. I don’t know when I will ever feel truly safe again.

"But I know that I am stronger than he thought and we will be happy again and we will thrive. I hope this hateful, cruel man spends decades in prison for endangering our lives and the lives of everyone who lived in that building.

"I would also like to thank the Metropolitan Police for their enduring support, the CPS for dedication to this case and everyone who helped."

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