Conspiracy theorist set fire to 5G mast in bid to 'protect' others

A conspiracy theorist caused around £150,000 damage when he set a 5G phone mast ablaze in a bid to "protect" others.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 5:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 8:41 am
The incident happened in Wardley

David Patterson had already made a "bunker" in his kitchen using tins and covered himself in foil in a bid to make a barrier against harmful "waves" from the transmitter.Newcastle Crown Court heard in the early hours of June 21 last year the 41-year-old climbed over a fence into a locked compound at Wardley Garage in Gateshead, near the South Tyneside border, and set fire to a BT phone mast on the roof.Prosecutor Alec Burns told the court: "Police attended and they arrested him. He admitted he had set fire to the mast, saying because it was 5G hebelieved it was dangerous."Mr Burns said there were two seats of fire and the mast, which was destroyed by flames, cost between £100,000 and £150,000 to replace.Damage caused to the garage building is estimated to cost around £15,000 to repair.The court heard at the time of the fire Patterson had the "delusional belief" that he was "protecting his family and others, in reality, from harm".Judge Sarah Mallett said Patterson had previously "covered himself in tin foil and had a self-made bunker in his kitchen".Judge Mallett added: "His belief was the tins and tin foil would act as a bunker from the waves he believed he was experiencing from the 5G mast, furthered as it was, that belief, by material that is readily accessible on the internet that frankly feeds beliefs that are widely considered and accepted to be completely delusional."Patterson, of Pensher Street East, Felling, Gateshead, admitted arson.Tony Davis, defending, said Patterson has been under the care of mental health services.Speaking from the dock, Patterson told the court: "I know what I did was totally wrong.

"Conspiracy theories don't apply to me no more.

"I am well aware my mind can't take it."I want to spend time with my lovely friends and lovely family now."

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Judge Mallett adjourned sentence until October 1 and said although Patterson has made "good progress" she has concerns about the future and wants moreinformation about the mental health interventions available to the court.

The judge told him: "I need to make sure the sentence I pass not only benefits you but, more importantly, benefits everyone by reducing the risks you have shown you are capable of causing."Patterson has been given conditional bail until the next hearing.