TV arsonist loses jail term plea

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A TRAUMATISED murder witness who was jailed for setting fire to his TV in a cry for help has lost his bid to get his sentence cut.

Sean Stephen Thompson, 35, of Croft Avenue, Millfield, was suffering the traumatic after-effects of witnessing the murder of his cousin in 2006 when he lit the fire in October last year.

The troubled alcoholic admitted arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered, and was jailed for 30 months at Newcastle Crown Court in January.

At the Court of Appeal in London yesterday, his lawyer, Nigel Barnes, said Thompson was suffering from mental problems at the time he lit the fire.

He had been a witness in a murder trial in 2001, and suffered anxiety following assaults afterwards, then was present when his cousin was killed in 2006.

Post-traumatic stress disorder resulted, along with severe anxiety, which Thompson medicated with alcohol, becoming dependent.

Mr Barnes said the intention had not been to hurt or damage anyone else’s property.

Rejecting Thompson’s appeal, Judge Peter Collier said the sentence was richly deserved for a crime which could have had worse results.