Norwich City Green councillor Steven Altman jailed for arson

A Norwich City councillor has been sent to prison for arson after he started a fire in an attempt to take his own life.

Steven Altman, 27, Green councillor for Wensum ward, had set fire to his flat in College Road, off Earlham Road, Norwich on March 6 last year.

Today he appeared for sentence at Norwich Crown Court, where he was sentenced to 14 months in prison.

The court heard that Altman, who was suffering from depression after the break-up of a relationship, had started a fire in his bathroom and had intended that he would succumb to the smoke and die.

He lay down in his bathroom, but soon began to choke and called the fire brigade, the court heard. The police turned up and he told them he had started the fire because he wanted to kill himself.

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He was interviewed and charged with arson, which he had admitted at a previous court hearing.

At the earlier hearing, after the court heard psychiatric reports on Altman's mental condition it had been decided not to proceed with a more serious charge.

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Altman, of Grosvenor Road, off Unthank Road, is a former president of the University of East Anglia Student Union and was in his second stint as a city councillor.

He represented Mancroft ward for 2006-2007 before he was replaced by previous Lord Mayor of Norwich Tom Dylan.

He made a comeback is September 2010 when he triumphed in Wensum ward with 887 votes, which was 144 votes ahead of his nearest challenger, Labour's Vaughan Thomas.

•The Samaritans can be contacted by calling 01603 611311 or 08457 909090, or you can email

See tomorrow's papers for the full story.

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