Plot to burn home foiled

AN accountant's 5th November plot to burn down her £500,000 farmhouse for financial gain was exposed with the help of an alert neighbour.

AN accountant's 5th November plot to burn down her 500,000 farmhouse for financial gain was exposed with the help of an alert neighbour.

The man heard the alarm sounding at Glebe Farm, Walkeringham, and took the car number of the two men recruited as arsonists as they fled the scene, a court heard.

Property owner Soraya Vidakovic, 51, was jailed for two and a half years on Friday.

Patrick Moore, 33, of York Road, Earlsteaton, Dewsbury, was given two years plus 300 days which were outstanding after being released early from his last prison sentence.

Jason Gaunt, 35, of Melbourne Close, Balderstone, Lancashire, got 21 months.

All pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to conspiracy to commit arson on 5th November 2002.

Steven Coupland, prosecuting, said there was plainly a financial motive for Vidakovic, whether it was to get insurance money or to avoid paying money to a man she had been involved with.

She recruited her two co-accused who were in the security business.

"She gave them access to the electric gates, the alarm code for the house and keys," said Mr Coupland.

She then left to establish her alibi at a casino in Bradford, when the men smashed windows in the house, poured petrol in three places inside and set fire to it.

Before leaving they set the alarm, which sounded and led to the arrival of the fire brigade, but not before extensive damage had been done.

While the police and firefighters were still there, a tearful Miss Vidakovik arrived back at her home.

"All the appearances were that it was an outside job," said Mr Coupland.

But armed with the car number taken by the neighbour, the police went to Moore's address in Dewsbury.

His trainers matched footprints found outside the broken windows and a CCTV tape removed from the property was found in his car boot.

When Gaunt was seen he said they had merely been to the farmhouse to give security advice.

But the court heard that checks revealed the alarm system had been set after the fire had started and Vidakovic was the only one to know the pin number.

Moore was still on prison licence at the time, having been released early from a five year sentence for robbery.

The other two were of previous good character.

Christopher Gillespie, for Vidakovic, said the mother-of-three, whose youngest child was at boarding school, had acted out of character.

"It is perfectly obvious she got herself involved with a man who was not all that he seemed."

She found herself the victim of harrassment by him, and others on his behalf."

One of the other men was wanted by Interpol, the court was told, and had been found with firearms in his car boot.

Judge Joan Butler said normally the sentence would have been four years or more, but it was being kept lower.

Vidakovic, now said to be living in London had 30,000 of jewellery but she had dependants and would not be ordered to make any payment to the court.