Jaime Harding has battled drugs and depression for many years

Marion singer Jaime Harding has been jailed for two years and eight months for arson.

A court heard that Harding set fire to his girlfriend’s clothes after she wouldn’t answer his phone calls.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard that Harding – whose Britpop-era band supported Radiohead and Morrissey – used a cigarette lighter to set fire to two of his girlfriend’s dresses in February. The singer then tried putting the flames out, but had to call the fire brigade when he was unable to control the blaze.

Marion were managed by Joe Moss, the original manager of The Smiths, who died of cancer last year. Harding’s spokesman said that Moss’ death caused the singer to become depressed and begin taking drugs again, with his troubles culminating in the arson.

Formed in Cheshire in 1993, enjoying Top 40 success with the singles ‘Let’s All Go Together’ and ‘Time’, as well as releasing the albums ‘The World And Body’ and ‘The Program’ before splitting in 1999 due to Harding’s heroin addiction.

Their line-up included Phil Cunningham, who now plays guitar for New Order.

Marion reformed in 2006, playing successful shows comprised in part of new material and releasing the single ‘Can’t Stop Now’. But Harding’s drug problems resumed, and he eventually had heart surgery after contracting a diseases from a dirty needle.

In 2011, Marion again reformed for a tour, leading to the release of live album ‘Alive In Manchester’. Health problems caused a planned new studio album to be abandoned, but Harding persuaded Moss to manage him again after seeking help from Narcotics Anonymous before Moss’ death.

Deluxe editions of Marion’s two albums are due for release on September 16.