October 13, 2021 2.13 pm

Lincoln man jailed for arson attack at his council flat

He caused £17k worth of damage

A Lincoln man who deliberately set fire to his council flat was jailed for four years and ten months on Wednesday.

Sam Wright, 46, will also serve an extra three years on extended licence when he is released from prison after a judge found he is “dangerous” and represents a risk to the public.

Three fire appliances were called to Cannon Street in Lincoln just before noon on January 17 after Wright started a blaze in his ground floor flat.

Lincoln Crown Court heard the block contained 12 flats over three floors and was also home to an elderly lady with mobility problems.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said Wright was a problematic tenant who had been placed in his flat as temporary accommodation for homeless people after being moved from two other locations.

The court heard fire crews were called to the property after Wright’s neighbour, Mark Hughes, 54, looked through a spy hole and saw black smoke pouring into a communal corridor.

Mr Howes said Mr Hughes was particularly concerned for the elderly resident and began to evacuate the block while another man, Andrew Bonfet, bravely entered Wright’s flat to see if anyone else was inside.

The court heard Wright admitted starting the fire during a conversation with Mr Hughes.

He made further admissions when police arrived stating: “I have been asking for help and not got it. This is why I’ve done it, I told you I would.”

Wright was taken into custody and damaged his police cell.

Fire investigators found the seat of a fire consistent with a cigarette lighter on a double bed and armchair.

A statement from the City of Lincoln Council said the cost of restoring the flat was £17,000.

Wright admitted an offence of reckless arson and damaging his police cell. The court heard Wright also had a previous conviction for reckless arson in 1995.

He also pleaded guilty to four offences in July 2020 relating to an incident after he was found begging outside Morrisons supermarket on Tritton Road, Lincoln.

In mitigation, the court was told Wright started the fire at his flat with the intention of only harming himself after suffering with chronic back pain and mental health problems.

Passing sentence Recorder Jennifer Jones told Wright: “Setting a fire like that obviously causes a serious risk to your neighbours.

“They were particularly concerned about your neighbour with impaired mobility.”

Spotted an error? Please notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.