Morecambe arsonist put lives at risk

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A Morecambe man who started two fires deliberately has been told by a judge he poses a risk of harm to the public.

Oliver Kelly set his flat alight on Westminster Road, Morecambe, while drunk, before dialling 999.

Then while on bail over that incident, he set fire to a dog kennel outside his father’s home as an act of revenge.

Kelly, 21, was given an extended sentence of four years’ prison, with three years licence, by a judge at Preston Crown Court.

He had pleaded guilty to two charges of arson, being reckless whether life would be endangered.

The first fire occurred when Kelly set light to his bedding in December last year and then placed some furniture on top to feed the fire.

He was the only person in the end terraced building at the time.

The fire was contained through a window and door being kept shut.

However, if that hadn’t been the case, then the whole of the bedroom would have been engulfed in as little as three minutes, said Mr Kevin Donnelly, prosecuting.

Fire officers arrived at the second floor flat and noticed he appeared to be under the influence of drink or drugs.

He claimed there was no fire at the scene but smoke was seen hanging in the air.

Thick black smoke was coming from the bedroom.

Kelly became argumentative with paramedics outside the building, refusing to go to hospital for treatment.

In May this year, Kelly set a dog kennel an fire in the garden of his father’s home on Goldcrest Close, Heysham, while his parents were away on holiday.

Earlier, a number of threatening type messages had been posted on Facebook. Miss Rosalind Emsley-Smith, defending, told the court: “He is not a serial arsonist.”

The defendant had an alcohol addiction and at the time had been depressed, probably suicidal and fairly out of control.

During his entire adult life he had struggled with a problem of taking a cocktail of alcohol and drugs.

The barrister added: “He has expressed his regret, his apology, his horror at being capable of committing such acts as these two arsons.

“The second offence was not an act of revenge”.

The judge, Recorder Andrew Edis QC, told Kelly that in the first incident he had created a very significant risk of death to himself and others who were or might have been in the vicinity.

The second offence had an element of revenge.

He added: “You clearly do present a risk of harm to the public. You use fire in circumstances where you wish to cause harm or attract attention, perhaps to yourself.

“That is a dangerous state of affairs for the public.”