Kearsley arsonist poured petrol over himself and set fire to his own flat in 'drug-induced psychotic episode'
AN ARSONIST broke into his own flat whilst neighbours were asleep and set it on fire, a court heard.
Bolton Crown Court heard yesterday that a woman living downstairs escaped because her husband smelled the smoke.
Complaints had been made about Andrew Coop by his neighbours and on March 12 he had agreed to give up the Bolton at Home-owned property.
Lindsay Thomas, prosecuting, said he then turned up at neighbour Sarah Taylor’s home at 11.45pm on April 24 and asked for cigarettes before climbing a ladder up to his own former flat.
Inside, he poured petrol over himself after hearing voices, said Alison Heyworth, defending, but changed his mind and set a sofa alight instead before walking away.
The court heard that Coop, aged 23, had been suffering from a psychotic episode at the time brought on by drug taking, which had begun when he was a child.
“His father encouraged and facilitated his drug use from the age of 11 or 12 years,” said Miss Heyworth.
She added that Coop had not thought about the danger to people living nearby when he started the fire.
In a statement, Susan Spencer-Kuhanga, who lives in the flat below, said the incident was very traumatic, especially as she and her husband are usually heavy sleepers.
“The consequences of this would not be worth thinking about,” she added.
Coop was arrested a short time later carrying a kitchen knife and three bags filled with petrol-covered clothing.
The court heard that two days earlier Coop had deliberately dented his mother’s car and after his arrest he had damaged his police cell.
He was sectioned under the mental health act for a month before being transferred to prison.
Coop pleaded guilty to arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered and two counts of criminal damage.
Sentencing him to three years, four months in jail, Judge Timothy Stead said he believed drugs affected Coop’s mental health.