Killer Declan Lancaster admits manslaughter of Patryk Mortimer in fatal fire
A killer has admitted he sparked a blaze that caused the death of a man – but claims attempts to assess the risk he poses to the public are a "waste of time".
Patryk Mortimer, who was 39, lost his life in a fatal fire at Manor House premises, a former care home on High Street, Easington Lane, Sunderland, on November 3, 2018, where he was a tenant.
Declan Lancaster, of no fixed address, was originally accused of murder and appeared at Newcastle Crown Court this morning, via video link to prison.
The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson being reckless as to the endangerment of life, which has been accepted by the prosecution.
Prosecutor David Brooke QC told the court "very careful consideration" by the police, fire experts and crown prosecution service has concluded that the murder charge will be dropped.
Judge Paul Sloan QC ordered the preparation of pre-sentence and psychiatric reports to assess the level of dangerousness Lancaster may pose to the public in future.
But the killer shook his head and voiced objections to the order that he should be seen by doctors.
Lancaster told the court: "There's nothing wrong with me, nothing, its just dragging my past up."
Judge Paul Sloan QC told Lancaster it was in the public interest that he be assessed so that all possible relevant information is available to the court to ensure the correct sentence is passed.
Judge Sloan added: "The fact I am adjourning sentence and directing the preparation of reports is not an indication of the precise sentence that will be imposed in due course."
Lancaster shook his head at the conclusion of the case and told the court: "I ain't even seeing a psychiatrist, you can **** off, waste of time."
Judge Sloan said Lancaster will be sentenced on July 2 and remanded him in custody in the meantime.
After the hearing, Detective Sergeant Steven Brown, of Northumbria Police, said: “First and foremost, our thoughts go out to Patryk’s friends and family for whom the last two-and-a-half years since this tragic incident has been a devastating time.
“While we know nothing can remove the pain that they inevitably feel having lost a loved one, we sincerely hope they can take some comfort knowing that the person responsible has now been brought to justice.
“This has been a significant investigation that has involved a team of detectives trawling through more than 600 hours of CCTV footage, hundreds of statements and carried out a huge amount of enquiries. Today, it is clear that it has all been worth it.
“Declan Lancaster is a dangerous man who committed a truly appalling act. He knowingly and willingly started the fire caused catastrophic damage and tragically rid Patryk of the life that lay in front of him.
“It could so easily have resulted in the deaths of other residents that were inside. Lancaster must now live with the consequences of his horrendous actions that have caused unimaginable pain and anguish to many people.
“I would like to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly on this case to ensure the person responsible had his day in court.”