Police slam arsonist who torched home

A police chief has slammed the actions of an arsonist who set fire to his family home after his dad refused to give him money.

Thursday, 6th June 2019, 12:54 pm
Matthew Gray

Gray, under the influence of either drink and/or drugs, turned up at the Stansted Close address in the early hours of February 13 and demanded £20.

A screen shot from bodycam footage

But after these demands were rejected, Gray used a spanner to smash the front window before torching a wheelie bin inside the garage of the property, which quickly spread.

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Police and the fire service arrived and found the house engulfed with smoke. Gray was later located hiding in nearby bushes and spat at the detention officer upon arrest.

Gray, of Stansted Close, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to destroying or damaging property recklessly as to endanger life, criminal damage and assault of an emergency worker.

On Tuesday, May 28, he was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Newcastle Crown Court.

Detective Constable Terry Robertson, of Northumbria Police, said: “Through his appalling and selfish actions that night, Matthew Gray endangered the lives of others and caused significant damage to his family home.

“His behaviour was spiteful and he acted in a fit of rage because he wasn’t given the money that he demanded. It is incredibly fortunate that nobody was seriously injured as a result of this incident.

"Gray’s actions will have an inevitable impact on his family. He must live knowing the pain he’s caused and face the consequences. The family have reconciled whilst Matthew has been in custody and they are willing to support him upon his release.

“I hope this sentence sends out a strong message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated, and we will look to bring those who endanger the lives of others in our communities to justice.”