July 5, 2022 9.00 pm

Young arsonist sentenced for Boxing Day blaze

He made threats to burn a building down three days later, too

A 20-year-old man has been locked up for three years after starting a fire in care accommodation with a discarded cigarette.

Callum Lilliot, 20, dropped a cigarette on his coat which he then threw onto his bed at his care accommodation in Awdry Drive, Wisbech, at about 10pm on Boxing Day 2021.

Officers initially were called to the property when Lilliot threatened to jump out of a second-floor window, but arrived to find smoke coming from an open window.

An officer began to kick the door down through fears that people were inside, before a carer opened it with a key and police tried to tackle the fire themselves.

The officers were beaten back by smoke and heat, causing two of them to be hospitalised with smoke inhalation. Four residents and carers were evacuated as Lilliot was arrested a short time later.

He claimed the fire had been an accident as temporary accommodation had to be arranged for other residents, but that was not to be the last time that Christmastime he got himself in trouble with the police.

In a further incident on December 29, just three days later, Lilliot rang 999 to say he wanted to hurt staff at Peterborough’s Edith Cavell Centre by burning it down.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of arson with intent to endanger life, arson with recklessness as to whether life was endangered, and threatening to damage or destroy property, during a hearing at Cambridge Crown Court on Wednesday, June 29.

Lilliot was sentenced to three years detention in a young offenders institution.

Detective Sergeant Lee Womak, who investigated, said: “Lilliot showed little regard for the safety of others when he decided to deliberately drop his cigarette on his coat and start a fire.

“I don’t need to explain why starting fires is so dangerous and I hope Lilliot will reflect on his actions and consider how tragic the consequences could have been.”