Dangerous Great Yarmouth arsonist given a nine year extended sentence after setting fire to his flat

PUBLISHED: 16:26 14 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:06 14 December 2018

Lance Meikle. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Lance Meikle. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Norfolk Constabulary

A “dangerous” arsonist, who risked lives by setting fire to his home in Great Yarmouth, was jailed before for starting two fires at a previous address, a court heard.

The scene of the fire in Apsley Road, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Anthony Carroll.The scene of the fire in Apsley Road, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Anthony Carroll.

Lance Meikle, 42, set fire to net curtains at his address in Apsley Road which then spread through the flat and could have injured or killed people living in adjoining homes if the fire took hold, Norwich Crown Court was told on Friday.

The court heard it was only the fire doors and the fact firefighters arrived within four minutes that prevented the blaze spreading to other homes and to the flat below.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said firefighters had to go into the building to put out the fire and Meikle had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Mr Ivory said Meikle told a police officer: “I wanted to set fire to the rest of the house.”

Later he claimed he had not wanted to harm anyone but Mr Ivory said it was only prompt action by firefighters and the fact the landlord was not in that prevented a “disaster.”

Meikle admitted arson reckless as to whether life was endangered on July 14 and breaching the terms of his sex offender’s notification order between January 1 and May 15, this year.

He was given a nine year extended sentence made up of four years custody and five years extended licence.

Judge Katharine Moore said he had a troubling history of offending: “The fire you set in July could have killed someone. You made no effort to put the fire out or seek help or see if others needed to be evacuated.”

She said he was a “danger” to others: “You present a significant risk of serious harm through fire setting.”

Mark Roochove, for Meikle, said that he had a drink problem and felt low and sad as it was the anniversary of his mother’s death.

“It was a difficult day and coincided with the day of his own mother’s death.”

He said that Meikle now realised the danger his actions had posed.

“He understands the gravity of his actions and does not seek to justify them.

“He wishes to apologise to the landlord.”

The court heard that in 2012 Meikle was jailed four years after he started a two fires at another address in Wellesley Road, Great Yarmouth.

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