Teen arsonist started revenge blaze at Sunderland house after row over bike

A teen arsonist who put lives at risk when he started a revenge blaze at a house after a row over a bike has been put behind bars.

By Karon Kelly
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 2:06 pm

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Anthony Robinson started four fires on the first floor of a three storey mid-terraced property at Egerton Street, Sunderland last June.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the house had been converted into bedsits and the now 19-year-old had previously been evicted due to his aggressivebehaviour.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court Robinson, with other men, got into the building through an insecure window and confronted a tenant in one of the rooms.

Anthony Robinson.

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Mr Wardlaw said: "The defendant was aggressive and angry and such was the level of his aggression the tenant and his friend ran from the address.

"He contacted the police and on return to his address, with the police, discovered the address had been set on fire."

The court heard there were three seats of fire, where combustible materials, such as carpets and curtains had been set ablaze.

A fourth seat of fire had not properly taken hold.

Mr Wardlaw said nobody else was in the bedsits at the time but added: "The lives of others, in adjoining houses, were endangered."

The court heard a young family lived in the house next door.

When arrested over the blaze, Robinson confessed "I'm going to tell you the truth, I did and you know why, because someone tried to steal a bike."

Robinson said he had used a lighter to spark the flames and laughed as he said "set his ******* house alight".

Later that night, Robinson climbed onto the roof of a house in the city and stacked up lead flashing, ready to be taken.

He was ordered down by the police after he was heard by the occupant, who was left with a repair bill to sort out the damage to his roof.

The following month, Robinson moved in with his aunt but as asked to leave after he set fire to his bedding and her home became a target for drug dealers he owed money to.

When his aunt then sent him a text asking for money and a phone she had loaned him, Robinson messaged back and warned "house going up in flames" and "Boom".

He also threatened he would "chop up" her partner and left her terrified.

The court heard while detained at Southwick police station in October Robinson saw a mental health nurse, at his request, and spat in the medic's face during the consultation.

Robinson, of Kipling Street, Sunderland, admitted arson being reckless to whether life would be endangered, criminal damage, malicious communication, making a threat to cause criminal damage and assault on an emergency worker.

Judge Amanda Rippon sentenced him to three years and ten months behind bars.

The judge told him: "There is only one sentence in your case and that is immediate custody."

Judge Rippon said the fire was an "act of revenge" and added: "Multiple people were endangered".

Alec Burns, defending, said: "Drink and drugs have been his problem. He is motivated to address that."

Mr Burns said when Robinson sobered up after he started the fire "it hit him just how stupid what he had done was".

The court heard Robinson has a history of mental health problems.