Sunderland man set fire to lawnmower after row with girlfriend

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AN arsonist who sparked a blaze in his garage after a row with his girlfriend has been jailed for two years.

Steven Corkin set fire to a petrol lawnmower in the garage space below a bedroom, which sent thick smoke billowing into the street.

Firefighters who were called to the scene on June 10 had to force open the door of the garage, which had been barricaded.

The 31-year-old told his girlfriend “I hope you are satisfied” as he ran off from the blaze.

Mr Recorder Andrew Haslam told him: “You had an argument with your partner.

“You took to alcohol and you took to the garage.

“You then locked yourself in the garage and barricaded yourself in there.

“You put your nearest and dearest at risk that their lives would be endangered by what you did that day.

“Thankfully nobody was hurt, thankfully the damage was limited.”

Arson investigators confirmed the risk to others was low.

Prosecutor Paul Wardlaw told the court: “The fire officer said if the fire had been allowed to develop, it would have been a great risk to persons within the garage but it would have taken a substantial amount of time for the fire to spread to the house.”

The court heard Corkin was “suffering the effects of having abused diazepam for many years” when he lit the fire.

Corkin, of Palmstead Road, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless to whether life would be endangered.

Lee Fish, defending, said very limited damage was caused and Corkin is no longer using diazepam, which was originally prescribed for insomnia.

Mr Fish said: “The offence was committed in a moment of madness, which obviously was the resut of an argument with his girlfriend at a time when he was clearly in a very dark place.”

Mr Fish said Corkin’s girlfriend is standing by him and was in court to show her support.