Britpop singer Jaime Harding has been jailed for arson after he set fire to clothes belonging to his girlfriend. The frontman of 1990s band Marion was jailed for two years and eight months after he torched two dresses belonging to his girlfriend using a cigarette lighter after she failed to answer his phone calls.
Prosecutors said the singer tried to extinguish the fire, but called the fire services when he realised it was out of control.
The block of flats was evacuated at 3.30pm on February 2 following the incident.
A spokesman for Le Mépris Management, which represents Harding and the band, said the singer was suffering with depression at the time of the incident and was "under the influence of various substances."
"Jaime was in the midst of a deep depression and also under the influence of various substances. Jaime has suffered from depression and drug addiction for over 20 years. Unfortunately, following the death of Marion's original manager, Jaime's father-figure, Joe Moss in October last year, Jaime plunged into a deep depression due to his bereavement, which continued into this year and culminated in this incident.
"Jaime set fire to a dress in the bedroom of his flat and then in panic immediately put it out with damp towels. Unfortunately, around an hour later the smoke alarm rang and Jaime was alarmed to find that rather than being fully extinguished, the fire had actually been smouldering and the bedroom was now filled with smoke.
"At this point, Jaime alerted the fire services and was told to evacuate the building."
Marion featured Harding, guitarists Phil Cunningham and Tony Grantham, bassist Nick Gilbert and drummer Murad Mousa, Marion once supported the likes of Radiohead and the Manic Street Preachers.
The band released two studio albums before splitting up in 1999, due to Harding's heroin addiction. Subsequent attempts to reform failed after Harding suffered health conditions reportedly related to drug usage.
Reacting to the news, the band issued a statement on social media saying: "It is with great sadness that we unfortunately have to inform Marion fans of Jaime's incarceration at Strangeways (HMP Manchester), following his arrest due to drugs earlier this year.
"This forces us to now cancel the planned Marion live shows for 2016, which we had scheduled following prior notification that Jaime's case would not be dealt with until December.
"Please accept our sincere apologies for the disappointment and any inconvenience caused, Jaime is devastated at this outcome and we can confirm that the Marion shows will be re-booked at the earliest opportunity upon Jaime's release. Please stay tuned to here and www.marionthegroup.com for updates."
Fans of the singer turned to Twitter to react to the news.