Man cleared of trying to burn top music producer alive

AN ARSON suspect has been cleared of trying to burn down the home of a top music producer and his family as they slept.

Darren Woodhouse, 37, claimed mistaken identity after being accused of starting the �40,000 blaze targeting Charles Burris Reeves in Clare Lane, off Essex Road, Islington.

Mr Reeves, who has worked with artists such as pop diva Grace Jones, was woken by the noise and rescued his family by carrying them through the burning front doorway.

The 43-year-old grabbed his wife and 15-month-old daughter and ran with them from the burning building before bravely returning for his mother.

Members of the American’s family had been visiting from the US to spend Christmas and New Year with him when they were terrorised.

The attack took place in January 2008, and Mr Reeves saw two people crouching down outside, but Woodhouse was not traced until last year.

Investigators matched his DNA to traces left on the mouth of a drinks bottle found at the scene and used to hold the flammable liquid.

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But Woodhouse, who was also accused of trying to burn down the property a fortnight before, claimed he was elsewhere and the DNA on the bottle did not prove he started the fire.

He was tried twice after the first jury in March failed to reach a verdict.

The second jury found him not guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Woodhouse, of Park Road, South Norwood, denied attempted arson on December 21, 2007, and arson reckless as to whether life is endangered on January 6, 2008 and was cleared.