Arsonist given jail sentence

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AN arsonist who set his house on fire after a four-hour stand-off with police has been jailed.

Robert Marsh armed himself with knives, a machete, a baseball bat and threatened to shoot officers during the siege at his home at Heugh Hill, Springwell Village.

Newcastle Crown Court heard officers had used CS gas in a bid to tackle the 40-year-old, but it had no effect.

He was eventually found unconscious in a bedroom by firefighters, after deliberately starting two blazes inside the semi-detached property.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw said Marsh had been arrested earlier the same day after slapping his ex-partner in the face before he was released on bail.

The fire damaged two upstairs bedrooms and caused considerable water damage to Marsh’s property and the house next door, on December 10 last year.

Marsh admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, affray and common assault.

Richard Bloomfield, mitigating, said Marsh has a history of depression and has displayed “impressive levels of remorse and shame” over what he did.

Marsh was jailed for three years and ordered to stay away from his ex-partner, under the terms of an indefinite restraining order.