'You are clearly a dangerous offender' - Arsonist jailed after starting £29k blaze at Washington home
An arsonist who sparked a £29,000 blaze at his third-floor home has been jailed and branded a danger to the public.
Jack Phillipson set fire to a piece of furniture then left the rented maisonette and walked away as flames took hold.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service deployed five units to tackle the blaze at Collingwood Court, Washington, on December 28 last year.
Prosecutor Andrew Finlay told the court the flames were already reaching up to the fourth floor of the multi-occupancy building when firefighters arrived and went in using breathing apparatus.
Mr Finlay added: "They saw thick, black smoke coming from the front door, which was open.
"On entry it was clear the seat of the fire was in the living room, towards the back of the property.
"On entering the kitchen they noted the oven was on, the oven door was open and the fridge door was also open.
"The taps were left on in the bathroom and the plug was in the plughole."
The court heard the fire service alerted Northumbria Police to the fact the cause of the blaze appeared to have been deliberate.
Mr Finlay said the seat of the fire – the area where the main body of the fire is located – appeared to be a piece of furniture, possibly a sofa.
He added: "The piece of furniture was damages to such an extent it was not clear what, in fact, the item of furniture had been.
"There were springs and pieces of wood within the charred debris."
The court also heard the two-bedroom property was owned by a public health doctor who said she was already under a lot of pressure from the Covid pandemic.
She said she felt "let down and upset" by Phillipson, who had been a tenant for just two months.
Shocking pictures show the damage caused by the 27-year-old, who has served a previous sentence for an arson attack at another property.
Phillipson was jailed for 14 months in 2017 after he started a fire in his kitchen at a former home.
After the latest fire, he was caught hiding behind a bathroom door at his mother's home, where he was banned from being.
He pleaded guilty to arson being reckless to whether life would be endangered and breach of a restraining order.
Judge Robert Adams sentenced Phillipson to six years in jail with an extended three-year licence period.
The judge said Phillipson's previous conviction for starting a deliberate fire was a "significant concern".
He continued: "Clearly there was a high risk of serious harm. The fire had taken a good hold.
"Multiple people appear to have been in danger, multiple firefighters as well as people who were living in the block.
"I take the view you are clearly a dangerous offender. In my view you clearly pose a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm caused by the commission of further offences."
Ben Campbell, mitigating, said Phillipson, who has worked in car valeting and gained qualifications to work on wind farms, regrets and accepts responsibility for what he did.
Mr Campbell added: "People speak well of him. He is capable of working hard.
"He has the appropriate regret and remorse for the affect of what took place."