A white terrorist has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a black mother and her two young children by pouring petrol through their letterbox and setting fire to it.
Jamie Barrow will serve a minimum of 44 years after killing Fatoumatta Hydara, 28, and her daughters, Fatimah Drammeh, three, and Naeemah Drammeh, one, who died of smoke inhalation after the blaze at their flat in Clifton, Nottingham, in November last year.
Addressing Barrow at a sentencing hearing at Nottingham crown court on Friday, Mrs Justice Tipples said: “You knew they were all home, asleep, and you knew they would have no chance whatsoever.
“Seconds after you lit the fire you heard the fire alarm in the flat go off. You did nothing. Seconds after that you heard Fatoumatta screaming from the flat. You did nothing.”
In a victim impact statement to the court, Aboubacarr Drammeh, Hydara’s husband and father of the two girls, spoke of the pain of having to identify his children’s bodies on 23 November, his 40th birthday.
“I was left helpless, because I didn’t have a family, and it was the people who mattered most to me. Since then, it has been a downward plunge into darkness and the unknown,” he said. “Two little angels, their lifeless bodies laying next to each other. I held their whole hands. I wished I could switch with them.”
Addressing Barrow, he said: “Because of you, and only you, I failed in my only responsibility as a father. You had choices, but you chose otherwise. Hate, anger, destruction, I don’t know, but of all the choices you had, you chose the most damaging of all. I have no hatred to anybody in the world, including you.”
The trio had been due to move to the US to join Drammeh, 40, who was working there, and the family were near the end of a three-year visa application process.
The white supremacist, 33, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but at the end of a three-week trial he was found guilty on Tuesday of murder and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
The court heard that on 22 November 2022 he drank 10 or 11 cans of beer before taking petrol from his motorbike and pouring it through the letterbox of his nextdoor neighbor. He lit a tissue to ignite it and watched the fire take hold before taking his dog for a walk.
When he returned he joined concerned neighbors gathered outside the burning building and denied any knowledge of the fire. He also called Nottingham city council to ask if they would compensate him for belongings damaged by smoke from the blaze.
The white terrorist, who has previous convictions for possession of a bladed article and battery, later admitted starting the fire and pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but claimed he did not know the family were at home when he started the blaze.
Police confirmed the incident was initially recorded as a hate crime, but the court heard the racist’s motive may never be known.
Prosecutors said the white terrorist may have had a “grievance” against the family as he believed they were leaving bags of rubbish in the alleyway.
When he gave evidence, the racist/white supremacist, who has been diagnosed with a personality disorder, said he found fire “cathartic” when he was in mental distress, and that he could not explain why he had targeted his neighbor’s flat.
Speaking after the sentencing, DCI Clare Dean from Nottinghamshire police called on the white terrorist to tell the truth about what motivated him to commit the murders. “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,” she said. “Whatever the reason, he is a very dangerous man.”
Mrs Justice Tipples said: “You were well aware of what you were doing and I am quite sure from what you did that you wanted to kill Mrs Hydara and her children. “You were very angry, but it is only you who knows why you did this.”