A once heroic fireman was today jailed for five years for organizing his sports car to be torched behind his own FIRE STATION in a brazen con.
Bungling Anthony Murray arranged for his BMW to be set ablaze as he tried to cheat insurance firms into giving him a pay-out for the deliberate damage.
The 41-year-old even recruited a pal to make a hoax call to get his firefighter pals away from the scene so he could put his plan into action.
Murray - nicknamed Chunk - got into financial difficulty as he struggled to pay back the loan for the £47,000 sports car.
Judge Stephen Everett, at Liverpool Crown Court, told him: “You gave yourself what you must have thought was the perfect alibi because you were nowhere near the car when it was set on fire.
“Greed was at the heart of the offending for both of you. Both of you had built up debts over a period of time.”
The incident is a marked fall from grace for the once-hero who was handed a commendation four years ago for saving the life of a 77-year-old woman.
Scheming Murray recruited pal Gareth Collier to torch the BMW Alpina alight despite it being parked just yards from his own workplace, behind Skelmersdale fire station in West Lancashire.
Father-of-one Murray then wrote a series of threatening letters which suggested that someone else was responsible for the fire, which left two more vehicles damaged.
It comes four years after his bravery in 2009 when Murray sprang into action to pull a pensioner out of her home after she collapsed following a chip pan blaze.
Then, his bosses praised his valiant actions by telling Murray: “There is no doubt that the courageous and prompt actions saved Dorothy Ashcroft’s life.”
Today, his barrister Keith Harrison said: “It was an enormous fall from grace. He has made the fall from pinnacle to pit.”
Murray, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, admitted conspiracy to commit arson and two offences of fraud involving separate insurance companies, committed between September and November last year.
Gareth Collier, 33, from Wigan, pleaded guilty to the arson plot and possessing a knuckleduster, and was jailed for two years three months.