October 21, 2022 4.18 pm This story is over 18 months old

Grimsby man jailed for 15 years over Boxing Day house fire

Thirty-five-year-old Savastel Balaci, of Bridge Gardens in Grimsby, has been found guilty of common assault, malicious communications, stalking with fear of violence, and arson with intent to endanger life following a court appearance in May 2022. Since May, he has been remanded in custody until today where he was sentenced for the offences.

Today (Friday 21 October), Balaci was sentenced to 15 years in jail after being found guilty following a trial by jury, and being adjudged to be a dangerous offender.

Investigating the case was Detective Constable Connolly who said: “Balaci was found guilty of a series of serious incidents where he meted out a campaign of intimidation and assault on his ex-partner and her family. He then became aggressive towards them and bombarded his victims with phone calls and messages threatening to kill them.

“His behaviour escalated and culminated in a night of terror as he set the victim’s lean to alight on Boxing Day last year (26 December 2021).

“The family managed to escape after being woken by the cracking and popping of the fire metres away from where they were sleeping. Balaci was arrested shortly after.

“Balaci admitted in interview that he had been and purchased a lighter from a nearby petrol station, attended the victims’ home address, set fire to his own jacket and left it hanging against the lean-to of the property, knowing that people were inside the house sleeping at the time just on the other side. He then left the victims’ address and headed home.

“This clearly could have ended in tragedy had the family not been woken from sounds of the fire as it began to spread and managed to get everyone out of the property. Balaci’s actions were reckless and endangered the lives of the people in the house at the time.

“This sentence reflects the seriousness of the case against Savastel Balaci and I am pleased that he will now be behind bars and not be able to pose any further risk to the public or the family.

“I want to express thanks the victims for their support and assistance throughout the investigation. They have been very strong and courageous during the investigation and whilst the judicial process has taken place.

“Anyone who is a victim of malicious communications or stalking should call us on our non-emergency number 101. If you are in immediate danger or there is a risk to life, always call 999. We are here to support you and deal with your report appropriately.”