Tenant who set fire to South Shields home after row is jailed

The man put paper in his toaster and used the device to set his curtains alight.

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A tenant who set fire to his home after a row over the phone has been put behind bars and branded a danger.

Russell Wild stuffed paper into his toaster, which sparked a blaze that he used to ignite his curtains in the property at Holborn House, South Shields, which was multi occupancy accommodation.

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Newcastle Crown Court heard his flat, which Wild walked out of and closed the door after he he started the fire, suffered one hundred percent smoke damage and left the landlord company £2,970 out of pocket.

Wild, 38, admitted arson being reckless to whether life would be endangered. Prosecutor Omar Ahmad told the court the fire was started on April 14 in the afternoon, in the block of 28 flats, and said: “In interview he admitted setting fire to his curtains following an argument with his dad on the phone about money.

“When he put the phone down he decided to set the flat alight and stuffed paper into the toaster, causing it to set fire and he then placed the toaster near the curtains.

Newcastle Crown CourtNewcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

“He left the flat and closed the door.

“He said he hadn’t intended to kill himself, he wanted to go to prison as he had had enough of the outside world.”

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The court heard Wild has convictions for 36 previous offences, which include damage and violence.

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Nicholas Lane, defending, said Wild was in supported accommodation and the fire alarm was linked directly to the emergency services, which he knew.

Mr Lane said the offence was linked to Wild’s mental health problems and added: “He describes it as a cry for help.”

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Mr Recorder Tom Little KC said drug taking has aggravated Wild’s mental health difficulties and told him he is a dangerous offender.

Recorder Little said: “I am satisfied there is a significant risk of you causing serious harm, a significant risk of further offences.”

Wild was sentenced to 40 months imprisonment with a three year extended licence period.

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