'Cruel' tenant jailed for deliberately torching home

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Joshua RosenbergImage source, Spindrift
Image caption,
Joshua Rosenberg has previous convictions in Germany for fraud and forgery

A tenant has been jailed for 12 years for conducting a vendetta against his landlords and setting fire to the home he was renting in Clackmannanshire.

Joshua Rosenberg bombarded two sisters and their lawyer with emails demanding up to £95,000 in compensation after moving into their house in Dollar.

Rosenberg, 43, claimed there was mould and damp in the house, but refused to let an expert inspect the premises.

He then arranged for the house to be torched and claimed insurance money.

Rosenberg of, Kinfauns, Perthshire, was convicted after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Days before the house was set on fire on 20 February, 2015, he removed prized childhood photographs and possessions from the house and put them in storage.

'Downright cruel'

The father-of-one, who has previous convictions in Germany for fraud and forgery, sat shaking his head as the guilty verdicts were delivered.

Judge Lord Beckett told Rosenberg his conduct was "outrageous.'

Lord Beckett added: "Your actions were an affront to human decency and an affront to democracy."

He told Rosenberg that his threats to the two sisters were "downright cruel".

The judge added: "When your attempt to extort money from them failed you then set up an elaborate insurance scam and destroyed the house which was of great sentimental value to the sisters and their family."

Rosenberg and his family moved into the house on 12 December, 2014 but by 10 January, 2015, they were threatening legal action.

The demands started at £3,500 and by February 2015 had escalated to £95,000.

'Personal and vindictive'

Alison Davidson said in evidence: "I was absolutely horrified. It seemed to have gone from a dispute about conditions in the house to something that was so extreme.

"They were saying they were going to bankrupt us. The whole thing seemed unreal.

"I was extremely frightened. I had visions of the police coming to my door and taking me away in handcuffs.

"It was horrible, frightening, scary. I felt it was increasingly personal and vindictive."

Rosenberg, who ran a civil engineering company, continues to deny the allegations.

He claimed the blaze was started by his former friend John Mitchell, 76, from Tullibody.

Mr Mitchell, a retired security guard, told the court that Rosenberg made him write the confession.

Rosenberg was found guilty of attempting to extort up to £95,000 from the landlords of the house he was renting and then setting fire to the property.

He was also found guilty of obtaining £53,780 by insurance fraud and sending letters to the police, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Crown Office in a bid to discredit Mr Mitchell and Det Con Christopher Reid, who investigated the fire.

The offences were committed between December 2014 and June last year.