Grantham arsonist jailed for two years after setting fire to flat

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A Grantham man who set fire to his second-floor flat putting lives in danger was today jailed for two years at Lincoln Crown Court.

Patrick Smalley used lighter fuel to start the blaze in the kitchen of his home in Kinoulton Court before telling his uncle what he had done.

Jonathon Dee, prosecuting, said that Smalley’s uncle arrived at the flat within moments but found the door was locked. He unsuccessfully tried to kick down the door before ringing the fire brigade.

The uncle then went round each of the six flats in the block checking if anyone was at home. Only one of the flats was occupied and he roused the man and helped him to safety.

Mr Dee told the court: “The fire brigade came very quickly. They sent three fire engines to the address. The defendant was rescued from the window and given oxygen.

“Another crew broke the door down to gain entry. When they went inside the fire was out.”

Mr Dee said that a mat and a door stopper in the kitchen were both damaged by fire along with a tea towel that had been set alight.

Smalley later spoke to police and told them he had been in the bath when he heard the smoke alarm go off. He said he went to investigate and saw smoke so locked himself in his bathroom as he had been told to do.

Four days later he contacted police and confessed to starting the fire himself.

Mr Dee said: “In interview he said he was depressed and things had got on top of him.”

Smalley, 22, of Kinoulton Court, Grantham, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered as a result of the incident on December 4 last year.

Nicola Quinney, defending, said that at the time of the incident Smalley was suffering from mental health problems but has been receiving treatment while being held on remand in custody.

She said that Smalley had a job to go back to and a supportive partner and urged he be given a suspended jail sentence.

Miss Quinney said: “He is clearly a young man who, at the time of this particular offence, was struggling with a number of different factors in his life that had come together. He is well aware of the precarious position he has put himself in.”

Judge John Pini QC, passing sentence, said: “You potentially put at risk the lives of others in the flats and the fire officers. This offence is too serious to justify anything other than an immediate custodial sentence.”