Serial arsonist jailed for trying to burn down Leeds hostel while on bail

Shaun Robinson.
Shaun Robinson.
Have your say

A SERIAL arsonist set fire to his bail hostel just four day after being released from jail for trying to kill his neighbours by torching their home.

Shaun Robinson was given a nine-year sentence yesterday over his latest offence at the hostel in Leeds after drinking super-strength lager.

Robinson walked into the office at the hostel on Hyde Park Road and told staff: “Call the police. I have set my bed on fire.”

The 40-year-old then went outside and waited as staff ran to the bedroom where they had to tackle four-feet high flames.

They used a fire extinguisher to tackle the blaze and Robinson was arrested when police arrived.

Bashir Ahmed, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court: “He said at the police station that he had started the fire because he wanted to go back to prison.”

The incident happened on November 30 last year. Four days earlier Robinson had been released from jail on licence after serving half of a six year sentence imposed for attempting to commit arson with intent to endanger life.

The court heard that offence took place on November 25, 2010, when he piled up bags of rubbish outside his neighbours’ flat in Dewsbury before setting it alight.

He then walked to a phone box and dialled 999. When police arrived he told officers he had started the fire because he wanted to kill the people inside.

He had been drinking and was high on ketamine at the time.

Robinson pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered over the bail hostel offence.

The court heard Robinson has 99 previous criminal convictions.

Shila (correct) Whitehead, mitigating, said Robinson had a history of alcohol and drug abuse but was not considered to have ever suffered from mental health problems.

She said: “He accepts that he is in a better position today, having been in custody for some time.

“He would like help for his alcoholism rather than his mental health.”

She added: “He has an appalling record and it is not one that he his proud of.”

Judge Colin Burn told Robinson he must spend five years in prison and serve an extended licence period of four years for his latest offence.

He said: “You were released from prison and within a very short period of time you were drinking super-strength lager and strong alcohol right up until the time when you started this fire.

“The reason you started the fire was in order to be sent back to prison.”

He added: “It is inarguable that you pose a significant risk of harm to others by acts of arson.”