Drunken man set own house on fire

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A drunk who set fire to his family home when he began mixing petrol and oil in the property to put in his lawnmower and quad has been jailed.

Robert Jenkins caused extensive damage to the council house and put lives in danger after coming home from the pub with a can of petrol and causing the blaze.

Jenkins told police after the incident that he had spilled the petrol which then ignited when his roll-up cigarette fell from his mouth.

Leeds Crown Court heard Jenkins dialled 999 on November 20 last year to alert emergency services to the fire at the property on Helmsley Avenue, where he lived with his partner and two children.

A dog was in the property and the next door neighbours were at home when the fire started.

Emma Downing, prosecuting, said firefighters soon established that the cause of the fire was suspicious and Jenkins left the scene.

He returned when police were at the property and was arrested.

In interview he claimed he returned home from the pub with the petrol as he wanted to put it in his lawnmower and quad bike.

He told officers he had been “very drunk” and had spilled some of the flammable liquid before setting it alight by accident when his cigarette fell from his mouth.

Jenkins pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Marcus Waite, mitigating, said Jenkins had little memory of the incident.

He said: “The defendants best recollection is that he was smoking and thats how the petrol came to be ignited.”

He was jailed for 32 months.