A man who had wanted to end his life in a fire he started punched a firefighter in the face when he turned up to extinguish the blaze, a court has heard.

Timothy Finn, 35, who suffers from mental health difficulties, started the blaze at a property in Fairway Drive, Watton.

When firefighters arrived he punched one of them, hitting his respiratory mask, before being dragged from the burning building.

Norwich Crown Court, sitting at Whitefriars, heard Finn had wanted to take his own life, following an argument with the property owner after the defendant bought a bottle of vodka.

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich Crown Court sitting at WhitefriarsNorwich Crown Court sitting at Whitefriars (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)Ian James, prosecuting, said Finn, who had made previous threats to set fire to the property, had a "volatile temperament" and was "adversely affected" by his use of drugs and alcohol.

He said authorities were alerted after a fire broke out at about 8.40pm on October 4.

Finn was trying to get into the address and one firefighter who had gone into the property, wearing breathing apparatus, had to go back after he was informed the defendant had got into the building.

Although he was punched in the face by Finn the firefighter was able to drag him out before going back into the building to put the fire out.

Finn, of no fixed abode, but currently of HMP Norwich, appeared in court on Wednesday after admitting arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and assaulting an emergency worker.

Rob Pollington, mitigating, said Finn was "without a shadow of a doubt a very troubled individual".

He said the arson was an "act of suicide" and an "attempt to take his own life" and said he was "in a point of mania" at the time.

Mr Pollington added Finn, who misused alcohol and drugs and was "so deeply affected by his mental health", suffered from a "long-standing affliction" going back to "the most disgusting sexual abuse that anyone could be subjected to".

Recorder Michael Turner adjourned sentencing after ordering Finn have a further psychological report.

There is due to be a further hearing on June 21.