Sunderland man locked up for starting flat fire

Jack Phillipson.
Jack Phillipson.

A Sunderland man has been jailed for 14 months after starting a fire in the kitchen of his flat.

Jack Phillipson, 23, of Corporation Road, Hendon, was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to reckless arson.

The fire broke out on 8 May after Phillipson had damaged his boiler with a blade, saying he was trying to sort out the boiler pressure.

Paul Rowland, prosecuting, said the gas pipes had caught fire and sent flames rising towards the kitchen ceiling.

Firefighters found the front door boarded up and met an agitated Phillipson at the back of the house, said Mr Rowland. They calmed him down and put the fire out by switching off the gas supply.

Phillipson had failed to take the medication he needed for his obsessive-compulsive behaviour, the court was told.

Nicholas Lane, defending, said: "He required a bath two to three times a day and was obsessed with hygiene. He has somewhat belatedly recognised the benefit of complying with his medication regime.

"He accepts that he caused damage to the boiler and that in doing so a fire broke out but he did not intend to endanger anyone."

Judge Sarah Mallett said Phillipson's previous convictions for criminal damage were an aggravating factor.

"There are serious risks caused by your mental health problems and you have not accepted help," she said.

"This was a problem exacerbated by your failure to take your medication. The problems with the boiler had a greater impact on you because of your obsessive-compulsive disorder.

"The flames travelling towards the ceiling were travelling towards the flats above. You didn't mean to endanger life but you were reckless in that regard.

"I hope that having recognised the benefits that taking your medication have brought to you, you will be very pleasantly surprised."