Schoolboy locked up over blaze at Leeds house


A schoolboy caused burn injuries to the occupants of a Leeds house when he destroyed the building by setting it alight.

The 15-year-old defendant was given a nine-year extended jail sentence at Leeds Crown Court after a jury found him guilty of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

What you did was extremely dangerous. It was a terrible thing to do.

Judge Geoffrey Marson

The occupants suffered burn injuries and the effects of smoke inhalation during the incident in which the property was completely gutted. A jury heard the boy started a fire on the landing of the house while the people inside it slept.

He then placed aerosol cans close to the flames before going downstairs and starting another fire. He then smashed a window and left the house.

One man awoke to find the house well alight, with the flames going up the walls and “engulfing” the carpet.

He suffered burns to his feet as he desperately tried to get to the other residents.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to arson, claiming someone else had started the blaze.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told the boy he was imposing an extended sentence as he was satisfied that he continued to pose a danger to the public.

The youngster must serve a six-year custodial sentence, followed by an extended licence period of three years. He will either be in custody or on licence until he is 24 years old.

The judge told the boy: “What you did was extremely dangerous. It was a terrible thing to do. It must have been obvious even to you even as a 15-year-old that you had created an obvious and serious risk, not only of serious injury but of danger to life.”

The boy, who cannot be named, sat in the dock with his parents during the sentencing hearing. Adrian Farrow, mitigating, said he came from a loving, supportive and caring family.

Mr Farrow said the boy now accepted responsibility for starting the fire despite taking the matter to trial.

He said his client accepted that he must face a lengthy custodial term but was now prepared to receive help to deal with his offending.