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Man Found Guilty of Attempted Murder After Setting Fire to Ex-Partner’s Flat

A man who relentlessly harassed his ex-partner on social media before committing a horrifying act of violence has been convicted of attempted murder and other serious offences.

Harry Owusu-Manu, 39, of New Kent Road, Southwark, was found guilty on 23 February at the Old Bailey of two counts of attempted murder, aggravated arson with intent to endanger life, religiously aggravated stalking, and possession of a lock knife in a public place. His sentencing is scheduled for 22 April.

The charges stem from a disturbing incident that occurred on 25 April 2023 when Owusu-Manu set fire to his ex-partner’s flat in Battersea. The victim, who is deaf and was pregnant at the time, along with her young daughter, were inside the flat during the arson attack and suffered smoke inhalation but survived.

Detective Constable Megan Gittins, who led the investigation, described Owusu-Manu’s actions as causing immense physical and mental harm to his ex-partner. She highlighted his refusal to accept the end of their relationship, which led to a series of harassing behaviors escalating to a dangerous level.

Owusu-Manu’s disturbing actions included posting derogatory and Islamophobic content on social media platforms, specifically targeting his ex-partner. However, the situation took a terrifying turn when he attempted to murder not only his ex-partner but also her young daughter and unborn child, showing a complete disregard for their lives.

The investigation, conducted jointly by the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade, revealed that Owusu-Manu deliberately started the fire by igniting a doormat and forcing it under the victim’s door. Despite attempts to cover his tracks, including spray-painting CCTV cameras, detectives were able to trace his movements through meticulous analysis of dash cam footage from his distinctive orange van.

The prosecution presented compelling evidence, including footage of Owusu-Manu’s van arriving at the scene minutes before the fire, as well as recordings showing his preparations and attempted disposal of evidence after the crime.

Following his arrest on the same day as the arson attack, Owusu-Manu refused to cooperate with detectives, but the evidence against him proved overwhelming, resulting in his conviction on multiple charges.

This case underscores the serious threat posed by individuals who resort to violence in response to relationship issues. It also highlights the commitment of law enforcement agencies to pursue justice for victims of domestic violence and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.

The Metropolitan Police encourages anyone experiencing similar behaviours from a current or former partner to come forward and seek support, emphasizing their dedication to listening and taking decisive action to protect victims.

As Harry Owusu-Manu awaits sentencing, the outcome of this trial sends a powerful message about the consequences of domestic violence and the determination of authorities to pursue justice on behalf of victims.

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