A Leeds couple have been jailed after starting a house fire that caused over £32,000 of damage and endangered the lives of neighbours.
Nathan Harte, 25, and Shelby Doran, 21, were both found guilty of arson with intent to endanger life over the blaze at a house on Sutherland Mount, Harehills, Leeds.
Leeds Crown Court heard that in the early hours of June 19 last year the fire service were called to the mid-terraced, back-to-back property after a neighbour spotted a fire in an upstairs bedroom window.
Other witnesses reported seeing Harte and Doran leaving the property as flames took hold.
All four gas hobs in the kitchen were turned on but firefighters managed to prevent an explosion.
Smoke alarms in the hallway and living room had been forcibly removed and investigators found evidence that the fire had been started deliberately in the front room.
Doran was a friend of the female tenant of the property on Sutherland Mount but their relationship had become strained with Doran’s increasing drinking.
Around 11.30pm on June 18, Doran had arrived at the property with Harte and they had begun drinking together.
A short time later the tenant received a phone call informing her that a relative had been taken ill.
She left Doran and Harte in the property while she went to hospital.
When she returned in the early hours of the morning she asked Doran and Harte to leave the property but they refused.
The tenant then left the house but then received a phone call from police stating the house was on fire.
Harte, of Beckhill Grove, Meanwood, was jailed for four years, and Doran, of Bawn Approach, Farnley, was jailed for three years, eight months.
Det Con Jonathan Garrod, from Stainbeck CID, said: “Their actions were potentially deadly.
“Setting fire to the property, which is a densely populated area, and home to a number of young families was unbelievably dangerous.
“It’s only by sheer good fortune the fire was spotted by a neighbour and the emergency services were able to get to the scene.”