Man jailed for flat fire - Bedford

25/08/2015

A block of flats in Bedford was evacuated after a resident, who was angry with the Pilgrims Housing Association, set his duvet alight.

Bryan Palmer, aged 69, told a fire fighter, who was tackling the blaze at Richbell Court in Queen Street, that he was annoyed with Pilgrims and wanted to get them back. When another resident told him his flat was on fire, he replied "Good," Luton Crown Court heard today,Tuesday, 25 August 2015.

Palmer, who timed the police arrival at the scene as 9 minutes from when the alarm was raised, said he was going to throw himself in the river.

Prosecutor Timothy Naik said Palmer started the fire on Thursday, 4 December last year at 11 o'clock at night. He was upset that he had been moved out of his flat a few days earlier, thinking it was a ruse to get him out permanently. His first floor flat was damaged and there was smoke damage to other parts of the 13 storey tower block.

Palmer, of Aelfric Court, Bedford pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered. He appeared in court via a link from Bedford Prison.

Philip Sutton, defending, said Palmer suffered cardiac problems and has twice been to hospital since being remanded in custody. He had a heart defibrillator fitted. He asked for a suspended sentence to be passed saying: "He is on the hospital wing in Bedford prison. He has serious medical problems. At the time he was a man in turmoil."

But Judge Michael Kay QC jailed him for 2 years, saying he could not suspend the sentence because the offence was so serious.

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