Man set fire to house in 50-year row with sister over inheritance

Arsonist Alan Carr
Arsonist Alan Carr
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A MAN set fire to the house he shared with his sister for 50 years in a row over inheritance.

Alan Carr was annoyed when his father left the mid-terraced property in equal share to him and his sibling, Durham Crown Court heard.

“Carr’s father died earlier this year,” said Graeme Gaston, prosecuting. “The house is valued at £80,000 to £90,000.

“It was left between Carr and his sister, Angela Knox, who lived there with her son, John Knox.

“There were many arguments between brother and sister, both over the house and over trivial matters.

“On the morning of the fire, there was a dispute over a spoon before Carr said the house ‘is going to get it, big time’.”

The court heard Carr set fire to a toilet roll on the landing, and set fire to another toilet roll on the stairs.

“Both these fires were stamped out by Angela Knox,” said Mr Gaston. “She then left the house hoping this would calm the defendant.

“Her son was in his room when he smelled smoke coming from his mother’s bedroom.

“Mr Knox quickly realised the fire was too big to put out and made his escape.

“Carr was standing outside the front door and told Mr Knox to let it burn.

“The police and fire brigade were on the scene in minutes.

“Carr was arrested as he stood watching the flames.”

The court was told the three-bedroom house was not insured, and the first floor was extensively damaged in the 

Carr, 59, of South View, Murton, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered on September 17.

Tony Davis, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Carr wanted to frighten his sister, there was never any intention to harm her.

“He is a man who suffers from depression, leading an isolated existence, drinking too much.

“He bitterly regrets what happened.”

Judge Christopher Prince jailed Carr for five years and four months.

The judge told him: “You placed the lives of people at risk, including John, who was in his room, and those who lived in neighbouring houses.

“This was an act of pure vindictiveness by you, it was also a considered act.

“You knew the risk the fire would cause to the lives of others.”