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Pensioner arson victim speaks of living hell next to evil neighbour

October 24, 2011

A frail pensioner who cheated death when her home was fire-bombed after a dispute with a neighbour over car parking has told of her horror ordeal.

Semi-disabled Beryl Geen saw her home torched by her next-door-neighbour who has now started an 11-jail sentence for the crime.

Beryl recounted how she had lived in fear, a prisoner in her own home, because of the vile threats and menaces issued by manic Suzanne Martin.

Martin, had a long-standing dispute with her elderly neighbour over parking spaces outside their bungalow homes in Merseyside.

She was caught on CCTV throwing what was described as an ‘incendiary device’ through Mrs Geen’s living room window in March last year.

Luckily, the disabled grandmother was still-awake reading in her bedroom and managed to escape the blaze which destroyed her home and all her treasured possessions.

Speaking after Martin found guilty by jury of arson with intent to endanger life, Mrs Geen described her former neighbour as “evil and rotten to the core”.

Mrs Geen said: “I’d been warned about her before she moved in, people had her down as a trouble-causer in the area.

“But when she moved-in to live next door my life changed. I had to have a fence put up in my back garden to stop her screaming at me through the window.

“I’ve been too scared even to hang-out my washing in the time that she has lived there. She is pure evil – rotten to the core.”

The shaken widow whose Wirral home had to be rebuilt at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds, told how, after having barely made it out of the burning building alive, Martin had the gall to approach her play innocent asking her neighbour “is everything ok?”

Geen said: “I heard the bang and made my way downstairs to find the curtains up in flames – it’s only because I had the key in the back door I was able to escape.

“Another neighbour took me down to the end of the road to make sure that I was ok, and then she followed down a bit later as if she had just been woken up by it all.

“She was pretending to be really concerned about me and asking did I know what had happened, when it was her all along.

“I really think there’s some kind of twisted evil in her. For someone to be able to just switch personalities like that, she’s not right in the head.”

At Liverpool Crown Court Judge David Aubrey, QC told Martin; “You have displayed no remorse or emotion and shown just coldness and indifference to your victims.

“This court finds your actions, your demeanour and persona somewhat chilling.”

Mrs Geen’s son-in-law Geoff Kelly, who cares for Mrs. Geen at her now refurbished home in Acorn Close, Bebington, Wirral, said he would be able to rest easy now that Martin is behind bars.

Kelly, 66, said: “It was such a relief when the judge handed down the sentence that he did.

“Me and my wife Joan, who is Beryl’s daughter, are so relieved knowing that Beryl will be able to live her day to day life without a dangerous woman living next door.

“We would have liked to see her go away for life, if Beryl hadn’t been awake and reading then she might never have made it out alive.

“I hate to say it, because at the end of the day she is someone’s daughter, but she doesn’t deserve to be let-out around ordinary, decent people again.”