Arsonist jailed for torching couple's home after they went to pub

A man has been jailed for causing more than £30,000 worth of damage to a house following a disagreement over money.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 9:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 10:00 am

After an argument with the occupants, Richard Pallister, of Bede Street, Easington Colliery, threatened to set fire to their Peterlee home.

When they dismissed his threat and left to go to the pub, the couple received a phone call telling them that the house was ablaze.

Thirty-six-year-old Pallister was arrested shortly after but denied responsibility - despite being caught on CCTV leaving the house immediately prior to smoke billowing from inside.

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Pallister, 36, of Bede Grove, Easington Colliery, was jailed for three years at Durham Crown Court after he admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Following a lengthy investigation, Pallister was charged with arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered and has now pleaded guilty at Durham Crown Court to committing the offence in June 2019.

He was jailed for three years and ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge.

In a separate case, a 14-year-old boy from Peterlee was charged with setting fire to a car in Shotton Colliery in October.

Officers were able to identify the culprit from CCTV footage after it clearly showed him dousing the vehicle with accelerant.

Pleading guilty to the offence, he received an eight-month youth referral order.

Inspector Emma Kay, of Peterlee Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “The consequences of these attacks could have been fatal, and it is only by chance that the damage caused was material.

“I hope these convictions serve to reassure our community that we are actively tackling arson offences, and I would encourage anyone with information relating to the matter to make a report to Durham Police.”