Britain’s costliest arson? Whitwell man jailed for £3.5 million blaze at Grade II-listed Node Court in Codicote

Node Court after the blaze in July 2015. Inset, arsonist Joshua Bozier, 24, who has been jailed. Pho

Node Court after the blaze in July 2015. Inset, arsonist Joshua Bozier, 24, who has been jailed. Photo: Supplied by police - Credit: Archant

A 24-year-old arsonist who destroyed the largest thatched roof of its kind in the UK, causing £3.5 million worth of damage to a Grade II-listed building, has been jailed.

Joshua Bozier – of Dalton Way in Whitwell, near Hitchin – smashed the rear window of an Audi A3 parked next to Node Court in Codicote’s Drivers End Lane, and set the vehicle on fire.

The blaze quickly spread to the thatched roof and totally destroyed it, also causing extensive damage to the building itself in what could be one of Britain’s costliest arsons.

And at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday, Judge David Farrell QC sentenced Bozier to three years and four months’ imprisonment – reduced from five years because of his early guilty plea.

The arson at Node Court – a thatched-roof house converted into offices – happened in the early hours of Sunday, July 12, 2015.

After a prolonged investigation, Bozier was charged with arson in June 2016.

Det Con David Quinn of the North Herts Local Crime Unit, who led the investigation, said: “The blaze ravaged the thatched roof which we later discovered had been the largest of its kind in the UK.

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“In addition to this, not only did the fire cause millions of pounds worth of damage, it is thought to be one of the most costly arsons the country has known.

“This mindless and fruitless crime also caused the owner of the building extensive loss of revenue and inconvenience as the local businesses based within the building had to relocate. We are lucky that no-one else was in the building at the time the fire started.”

Det Insp Lynda Coates, the unit’s head, added: “This was an incredibly complex investigation where my officers initially had very little to go on.

“Bit by bit, they pieced together the circumstances of the crime which led to identifying Bozier and ultimately his arrest, charge and conviction for this senseless crime.

“They did a fantastic job in investigating the offence and bringing Josh Bozier to justice.

“We are pleased about the outcome of the sentencing and hope it serves as a warning to anyone considering doing something so stupid and reckless in the future.”