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Man convicted of attempted murder after torching flat of his deaf, pregnant ex partner

A man who set fire to his deaf, pregnant ex-partner’s home after he harassed her online in an attempt to get back together has been found guilty of attempted murder.

Harry Owusu-Manu, 39, torched the flat in Battersea and sprayed over nearby CCTV cameras to try to cover his tracks.

But after trawling through other camera footage from the further afield officers traced his movements from his home address to the victim’s door.

The footage also revealed that Owusu-Manu made the journey from his Southwark home to Battersea in a dry run in the days leading up to the fire.

Key to his conviction was Dash cam footage recovered from the distinctive orange van he used as it caught on its dashcam the moment Owusu-Manu made his way to the flat to start the blaze.

He was arrested within hours of launching his attack, in which he shoved a burning doormat into the property, after the damning evidence was obtained.

He was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder following a five week trial which ended at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Owusu-Manu was also found guilty of aggravated arson with intent to endanger life, religiously aggravated stalking and having a lock knife in a public place.

He will be sentenced at the same court on 22 April.

Harry Owusu-Manu was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder (ES Composite)
Harry Owusu-Manu was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder (ES Composite)

Detective Constable Megan Gittins, who led the investigation said: “It is no exaggeration to say Harry Owusu-Manu made his ex-partner’s life a misery with his behaviour. The victim’s home and new baby items including clothes, cot and toys were all destroyed.

“Owusu- Manu refused to accept that she did not want to be in a relationship with him anymore and set about causing her physical and mental harm.

“He began posting derogatory and Islamophobic stories on Instagram but his behaviour soon escalated when he attempted to murder not just his ex-partner but her young daughter and unborn child. He also showed extreme disregard for the lives of other residents who could have been seriously injured by his dangerously misguided drive for revenge.

“Owusu-Manu is a terrifying example of the threat women can face for simply wanting to end a relationship. Throughout this process Owusu-Manu changed his account numerous times.

“Including claiming he was at the location to stop someone else starting the fire. These attempts to obscure the truth have been discredited. His lies have drawn out this process and delayed the justice that the victim deserves.

“I want to send a clear message to anyone who is concerned about the behaviour of a current or former partner - the Met is here for you.

“Throughout this investigation we supported the victim by ensuring our investigation focused on her needs, for example sign language interpreters were always available to her.

"The Commissioner has set out in our New Met for London plan our commitment to targeting those who pose the greatest threat to women and girls. We would encourage anyone who has been subjected to similar behaviour to come forward and speak to us – we are here to listen and will take what you say seriously.”

Detectives began their investigation after a fire was reported at a flat in Battersea in the early hours of Tuesday, 25 April 2023.

The victim and her daughter were treated for smoke inhalation.

Investigators from London Fire Brigade established that the fire had been started deliberately after a doormat had been set alight and forced under the victim’s door.