Suicidal arsonist endangered lives of neighbours


A depressed man with morbid thoughts has been jailed after starting a fire in his house which could have endangered his neighbours’ lives.

Mark Thomas had felt lonely and saw no point in living, a court heard.

He went on a three-day drinking session and started a fire in the conservatory of his house in Vimy Road, Linslade, which caught hold and caused damage to two adjoining houses.

A Judge at Luton Crown Court on Friday said that although he had sympathy with 49-year-old Thomas, he had to impose an immediate custodial sentence.

He told Thomas: “What you did was extremely dangerous and could have led to injury or even loss of life.

“The least possible sentence I can pass is one of 18 months imprisonment and I do hope you see this as an act of leniency.”

Jeremy Barton, prosecuting, said two fire engines went to a fire that had started in Thomas’ home on September 14 last year.

The blaze had started in the conservatory and spread to the kitchen and rear bedroom, and also to the guttering of adjoining houses.

He was not in the house but was seen nearby. However his neighbours were in, and although no-one was injured it was an “upsetting scene”.

When Thomas was first spoken to he admitted starting the fire in the conservatory to try and kill himself.

Mr Barton said the damage caused to the properties was between £5,000 and £10,000.

Thomas pleaded guilty to a charge of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.

Stuart Sprawson, defending said: “He had achieved a great deal in his life but has had morbid thoughts in recent years.

“He felt he had nothing to live for.

“He admits starting the fire and is apologetic for the problems that caused.”