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Arson with intent to endanger life

Date Produced: 15 February 2008
Title: Criminal Damage
Offence: Arson - with intent to endanger life
Legislation: S1(2) AND (3) CRIMINAL DAMAGE ACT 1971
Mode of Trial: Indictable Only
Statutory Limitations & Maximum Penalty: Life. Serious specified offence

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors

  • Intentional / reckless.
  • Motivation - revenge or political
  • Pre-planned.
  • Use of accelerants / firebombs.
  • Injury caused.
  • Extent of damage.
  • Risk of fire spreading.
  • Dwelling attacked.
  • Public building / school attacked.

Relevant sentencing Guidelines

None but note

R v Calladine November 25, 1975 Psychiatric reports should be obtained before sentencing.

R v Hoof (1980) 2 Cr.App.R.(S.) 299 there should be separate counts alleging arson with intent to endanger life and arson reckless as to whether life endangered.

AG's Reference No 1 of 1997 ( R. v. Wheeler) [1998] 1 Cr.App.R. (S.) 54 save in exceptional cricumstance or in the case of mental trouble a prison  should result.

Relevant Sentencing Case Law

R v Cheeseborough (1982) 4 Cr.App.R.(S.) 394 
Guilty Plea arson with intent. The defendant poured petrol through the letterbox of the house of a man who was having an affair with his wife and set light to the same having cut the telephone wires. The defendant was not a danger to the public at large and was under considerable stress. 7 years.

R v McGrath [2000] 1 Cr.App.R.(S.) 479  
The defendant assaulted his former partner, poured petrol around the house and set fire to the same causing minor damage. The defendant tried to stop his former partner and her son leaving the house. Guilty plea 6 years.

R v Manuel [2002] 1 Cr.App.R.(S.) 123 (at 526); [2001] EWCA Crim. 2240
Convicted of arson with intent to endanger life, arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and criminal damage. The defendant pushed burning rags through the letterboxes of two flats whilst drunk causing severe injury to one of the occupants. 10 years and 8 years concurrent.

R v Frankham [2007] EWCA Crim 1320
Arson with intent to endanger life. Convicted after trial. The defendant (31y) poured petrol against the door of the house of a man who was having an affair with his wife. There wee three adults and three children in the house. Damage was confined to the door and the door frame, and no one was injured. Held normal bracket was between 8 -10 years. However, bearing in mind the very limited extent of the damage, the absence of any injury to anyone, the very real distress which the defendant felt at the time over his wife's infidelity, this is an exceptional case. 12 years reduced to 7.

Ancillary Orders 

  • Compensation.

Consider Also

  • ASBO


ARCHBOLD 23-29, 23-46

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