Fire investigator praised after he helped put a South Tyneside arsonist who set fire to his mother’s home behind bars
A specialist fire investigator has been praised for his role in helping put South Tyneside arsonist, David Kirsop, behind bars.
Fire starter David Kirsop was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court last month after setting fire to his mother’s home in Jarrow.
The blazed caused more than £2,000 of damage and Kirsop was found nearby with soot on his face, prompting police to arrest him.
Kirsop claimed he had been running away from “people trying to kill him” and it was then a specialist fire investigator, who wishes to remain anonymous, from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) stepped in.
He examined the scene and concluded from the patterns of burning that the fire had been started by using fuel.
When the evidence was presented to Kirsop at court he pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
Nathan Stonehouse, Fire Investigation Technical Manager at TWFRS, said: “Our fire investigators play a crucial role in providing the interpretation of fire scenes needed to help the police and CPS put a case before the court.
“Our investigator in this case meticulously examined the damage left behind by the blaze and systematically studied every gram of the debris to identify what caused the fire.
“The burn patterns he analysed allowed him to deduce where the fire started, and his excavation allowed him to find traces of an ignitable liquid on the floor of the hallway.
“It takes a huge amount of knowledge, skill and training to be able to find evidence of a deliberate act in the aftermath of a fire and we are very proud of all of our investigators.
“We hope that results like this show the public just how valuable a role they play in taking dangerous people off the streets, and putting them behind bars.”
Chief Inspector Stu Liddell, of Northumbria Police, commented: “Investigations like this rely on the excellent working relationships that we have with our emergency service partners.
“In this case, the fire service played an integral role supporting us throughout this prosecution – and I’m pleased that the severity of his crimes were reflected in this custodial sentence.”