Sunderland arsonist set fire to girlfriend’s bed

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AN arsonist who set fire to his girlfriend’s bed after they had a row has been jailed for two years.

Steven Flowers squirted barbecue lighter fluid around Susan Newby’s Sunderland home before setting it alight as an act of “drunken revenge”.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the blaze in the bedroom caused extensive damage to the mattress and coverings, and the area was heavily smoke-damaged.

A second fire had been started in the living room, where Flowers, of Renfrew Road, had splashed the accelerant over the television, sofa and floor.

Judge Roger Thorn QC told Flowers: “This was a fairly determined attempt to start a fire.

“It involved an accelerant, namely you sprayed barbecue fluid around the house.

“The result was the fire brigade had to be called, and they had to enter with breathing apparatus.

“You put those officers, doing their public duty, at risk.

“Also at risk were those in the attached building next door.

“This was your drunken revenge for an earlier domestic dispute that same evening.”

The court heard the damage caused in the blaze cost the landlords who owned the property, at Renfrew Road, Red House, £2,890 to repair.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court firefighters had to force their way into the house as Flowers, who was still inside, had refused to let them in.

Mr Bunch said: “The fire officers attended at the front door and were able to see the defendant inside. He didn’t open the door.

“They went to the rear of the property and were able to see the defendant had come to the rear but didn’t afford them access.

“As a result of being able to see fire ongoing, they returned to the front door of the property and forced entry to the address.

“Inside there were two separate seats of fire, one in the living room and one in the upstairs bedroom.

“Damage was caused to each of the two locations.”

When he was arrested, Flowers told police: “I sprayed barbecue fluid around the house”.

The court heard Flowers has convictions for 12 previous offences.

Nigel Barnes, defending, said: “He took the action he did when he knew Miss Newby was leaving the premises.”

Flowers had pleaded guilty to arson at an earlier hearing.