‘Disgusting’ man sets fire to Battersea flat with pregnant ex-wife and daughter inside

A Southwark man who set fire to his pregnant ex-partner’s flat in Battersea has been jailed for life for attempted murder.

Harry Owusu-Manu, 39, started a fire at his ex-partner’s home in Battersea in the early hours of April 25, 2023.

The victim, who is hearing impaired and expecting a child at the time, was in the apartment with her young daughter.

They were treated for smoke inhalation after the attack and the London Fire Brigade later concluded that the fire had been started deliberately using a doormat.

Owusu-Manu was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder, aggravated arson with intent to endanger life, aggravated religious harassment and possession of a lock knife in a public place on February 23 in following a five-week trial at Old Bailey.

Detective Constable Megan Gittins said: “It is no exaggeration to say that Harry Owusu-Manu made his ex-partner’s life a misery by 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 no longer wanted to be in a relationship with him and started causing her physical and mental harm.

“He began posting derogatory and Islamophobic stories on Instagram, but his behavior soon escalated when he attempted to kill not only his ex-partner, but also her young daughter and unborn child.”

Owusu-Manu tried to cover up his actions by spray painting a CCTV camera black, but officers tracked him from his home in New Kent Road, Southwark, to the victim’s address.

Police said Owusu-Manu planned the crime diligently as he had visited the location several times prior to the incident.

Dashcam footage taken from the van itself shows Owusu-Manu heading to the victim’s apartment to start the fire and also led officers to a location where Owusu-Manu attempted to throw the clothes he was wearing during the fire.

Owusu-Manu was later taken into custody on April 25 and did not answer any of the detectives’ questions.

At the Old Bailey on May 3 he was jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years.

The victim said: “It was devastating that because of this man’s hatred I lost so many things that were dear to me.

“I was deeply traumatized and can never forget the horror of that night. I am so grateful to the London Fire Brigade for saving us and that my children and I are alive. I really thought we were going to die.

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

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