Arsonist endangered neighbours after setting flat on fire

Pictured is Derby Crown Court.
Pictured is Derby Crown Court.

A man who started a fire in his first floor flat and endangered other neighbours has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Derby Crown Court heard yesterday, Monday, January 30, how Peter Briscoe, 23, of Cauldon Drive, Holme Hall, Chesterfield, set fire to paperwork and curtains at his flat before leaving the property.

Prosecuting barrister Gregor Purcell said: “There were flats above him and below his and there were other residents present.

“One resident on the same floor noticed the defendant walking towards the street and she was on the phone and she heard a smoke alarm sounding and she was on the phone for about 20 minutes.

“She went outside her flat and saw smoke from under the defendant’s door next to hers and she was aware that other neighbours had heard the alarm and she noticed the smoke and she called the fire brigade.

“She saw the defendant coming back and she called to him and said the flat was on fire.”

The court heard how Briscoe asked for a bucket of water and he came back out of the flat coughing and spluttering before two fire crews arrived and and extinguished the remainder of the blaze.

Mr Purcell added that the seat of the fire was below a window and curtains and included documents and some clothing and the defendant’s wallet was found in the debris.

Briscoe, who works in a chip shop, pleaded guilty to arson after the incident on July 21, 2015.

Defence barrister Chris Aspinall said there was an understandable and emotional reason for Briscoe doing what he did.

And Judge Peter Cooke recognised that when Briscoe had burned his personal documents there had been an upsetting revelation about his past which had been an emotional blow.

Judge Cooke sentenced Briscoe to 15 months of custody suspended for 18 months with a Thinking Skills Programme and a 20 day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

He was also ordered to pay legal costs of £500 and a statutory victim surcharge.