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Arsonist admits trapping friend in home three times before starting blazes

PUBLISHED: 16:40 06 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:40 06 June 2019

David Turner. PHOTO: Submitted

David Turner. PHOTO: Submitted

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A Suffolk man who set fire to his flat in Lowestoft while a woman was trapped in the premises will be sentenced after a psychiatric report has been prepared on him.

Police investigate a fire in Salisbury Road, Lowestoft. Photo: Tom ChapmanPolice investigate a fire in Salisbury Road, Lowestoft. Photo: Tom Chapman

Before Ipswich Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing was David Turner, 40, of Salisbury Road, Lowestoft, who admitted starting a fire in a wheelie bin on April 8, and two offences of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered at a flat in Salisbury Road, Lowestoft on April 13 and May 7.

The court heard that a woman who was inside the flat at the time of one of the fires was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Danielle O'Donovan, mitigating, asked the court to adjourn sentence until the week commencing September 2 to allow a psychiatric report and a pre-sentence report to be prepared on her client.

She said the fires had been a cry for help or a suicide attempt.

The court heard that Turner had been in custody since May 7.

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Judge Martyn Levett said that offences of arson where people's lives were put at risk were serious and he wasn't making any guarantees on the sentence Turner would receive.

Following the third blaze, the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke out about Turner's actions after being forced to take medication to ease terrifying nightmares after the fires.

The woman said: "I really do not know why he did it. He said he was in a bad place and he seemed to have changed and got really weird.

"I have never known him to do anything like that before."

The woman, who is unable to walk due to nerve damage in her legs from peripheral neuropathy, has also been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, autism and dysplasia.

She suffered seizures from the flashing lights of the emergency services as they responded to the first fire on April 8, while she had to be given oxygen for seven hours after the second fire.

Firefighters found her face down and unconscious after Turner started the third fire in his home.

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