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Judge gives ‘grossly irresponsible’ man who set fire to his flat suspended sentence

PUBLISHED: 15:28 06 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:28 06 August 2020

Walpole Street in Norwich where Jacob Worth deliberatelt set fire to his flat in March 2019. Picture: Adrian Judd

Walpole Street in Norwich where Jacob Worth deliberatelt set fire to his flat in March 2019. Picture: Adrian Judd

A man who behaved in a “grossly irresponsible way” after deliberately setting fire to his flat has received a suspended prison sentence.

Jacob Worth, 25, of Catton Grove Road in Norwich, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, suspended for 21 months, on August 6 at Norwich Crown Court after admitting to an offence of arson with intent being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

The blaze, which caused £1,700 worth of damage, took place in a Norwich City Council-owned flat on Walpole Street, Norwich, on March 29, 2019.

No-one else was the property, which was part of a two-storey block of 10 flats, and the court heard Worth rang the authorities so Norfolk Fire Service could put out the small fire which did not spread to other flats.

Sentencing him, Judge Katharine Moore, said his behaviour was very self-indulgent and grossly irresponsible.

She added: “When anyone starts a fire it causes a real danger to people and your offence was particularly serious. It was in the evening at a time when people are likely to be at home.

“If they are not extinguished, fires spread and smoke spreads...that is why this offence is taken so seriously. I appreciate you told the authorities pretty quickly regarding what you had done.

“At the time you were low in mood, felt lonely and isolated and were considering suicide. The fire had been used as an alternative to that. Make sure you never ever behave in such a way again.”

MORE: Man in court charged with arson after fire at Norwich property

Judge Moore said that the blaze itself was modest but the call-out put a strain on the fire service.

She added that Worth, who receives Universal Credit, was experiencing moderate to severe depression at the time.

Mitigating, Rob Pollington, said Worth was remorseful of the arson.

“It was something he struggled with,” he added.

The hearing was also told that Worth was no longer suffering with serious mental health issues and was advised by Judge Moore to access support from his GP “not only for his wellbeing but for everybody”.

Firefighters were called to the blaze, near Chapelfield Road, at around 7.45pm and used a fan to clear smoke from the property,

As well as the suspended prison sentence Worth, who attended court in person, was ordered to complete 35 rehabilitation days and 120 hours of unpaid work.


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