Jamie Barrow: Man who murdered family in fire jailed for 44 years


Image caption,Fatoumatta Hydara died two days after her daughters Naeemah Drammeh and Fatimah Drammeh

A man who murdered a mother and her two daughters by setting fire to their flat has been jailed for life.

Fatoumatta Hydara, 28, died along with Fatimah and Naeemah Drammeh, aged three and one, after their home in Clifton, Nottingham, was set alight in November.

Their neighbour Jamie Barrow was convicted of three counts of murder for deliberately starting the fire.

Barrow, 31, was ordered to serve a minimum jail term of 44 years at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday.

The court heard Barrow took fuel from his motorbike, poured it through the letterbox of the family’s Fairisle Close flat and set it alight in the early hours of 20 November.

He had admitted the manslaughter of the mother and her children but denied murdering them claiming he thought the flat was empty when he started the fire.

Mrs Hydara and her children died from smoke inhalation.

Sentencing, Judge Amanda Tipples said Barrow started a fireball that would have filled the flat with thick, toxic smoke within moments.

She said she was sure Barrow knew the family were inside and had heard Mrs Hydara’s screams but did nothing to help.

The judge said Barrow had watched the fire take hold for five minutes before leaving the area with his dog as other neighbours rushed to try to help.

He later returned and pretended to know nothing about the fire, only later admitting to police that he started it.

Mrs Tipples said: “It is only you who knows why you did this. The reasons are impossible to understand from your evidence.”

She said Barrow was in “a dark place” when he started the fire, having earlier consumed 10 or 11 cans of lager.

Barrow was ordered to serve at least 44 years for each charge of murder.

He was also given 10 years having been convicted of arson that recklessly endangered the lives of other residents in the block of flats.

All the terms will be served concurrently.

Earlier Mrs Hydara’s husband Aboubacarr Drammeh had faced Barrow in court and called him “a coward who knew exactly what he was doing and exactly when to do it”.

Mr Drammeh had been working in the US and had been planning to bring his wife and daughters to live with him when Barrow murdered them.

He was due to return to the UK a week after the blaze so the family could attend an interview for their visa application at the US Embassy in London, as part of their plans to emigrate.

Instead, he flew back to the UK and spent his 40th birthday identifying his children’s bodies in a hospital mortuary.

He said: “Two little angels, their lifeless bodies laying next to each other. I held their cold hands. I wished I could switch with them.

“Only Allah knows why. I have to accept and prepare for the next chapter of my life. All I can say is I am sorry.

“I was not there, I should have been.

“I had a responsibility as a father and a husband to protect, that was my basic responsibility. I make no excuses.

“Because of you, and only you, I failed in my on responsibility as a father.”

Addressing Barrow, Mr Drammeh said he still did not know why the defendant had started the fatal fire that took the lives of his wife and children.

He added: “I am angry, I am sad, I am hurt, I am heartbroken. At the same time, I am grateful for them being a part of me. I am grateful for Fatoumatta and the kids, as they made me a better person.”

“I have no hatred to anybody in the world, including you.”

“You, Jamie Edwin Barrow, acted like the judge and jury on that night, and sentenced me to this.

“The only comfort I have is that you, as a person, cannot do this to anyone else in this world.”

During the trial, Barrow’s lawyers said his actions were not pre-meditated and that he was sorry for what he had done.

However Mrs Tipples told him: “I do not accept you have shown any genuine remorse for what you have done. You have sought to minimise responsibility for what you have done.”

The judge went on to praise the bravery of nearby residents who tried to help the family immediately after the fire and the police, paramedics and firefighters who were on the scene within minutes.

‘A very dangerous man’

After the hearing, Det Ch Insp Clare Dean, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “The sudden loss of Fatoumatta, Fatimah and Naeemah shattered a kind, gentle and compassionate family – and the senseless nature of their deaths has been incredibly hard for them to take.

“Barrow wasn’t brave enough to admit these murders, but I hope he does one day find the courage to explain why he committed such an atrocious crime.

“Whatever the reason, he is a very dangerous man. He isn’t safe to be in society which is why we welcome today’s sentencing.

“While it doesn’t bring back Fatoumatta, Fatimah and Naeemah, we hope it offers a degree of comfort to the family that the man responsible is behind bars where he can’t hurt anyone else.”

Source BBC News



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