A COUPLE have spoken of their relief after their neighbour was found guilty of setting their home on fire as they slept.

At Bolton Crown Court Isaac Brooks stared at the jury as they returned unanimous guilty verdicts.

During a three day trial the court had heard how David Beaver, his wife Beverley Kelly and their grown up, disabled sons Christopher and Adam had to flee their smoke filled semi-detached house in Sandpiper Close, Farnworth in the early hours of February 11.

Brooks, who lived in a flat opposite had poured a petrol like substance through the tumble dryer vent in the kitchen wall and set it alight.

Following the verdict the Honorary Recorder of Bolton commented: "This was as close as you get to an attempted murder."

Brooks, aged 41, was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on October 18 following the production of a psychiatric assessment and a probation report to assess dangerousness.

Mr Beaver and Mrs Kelly wept in the public gallery as the jury of seven women and five men found Brooks guilty of arson with intent to endanger life.

After the hearing Mrs Kelly said: "I'm just glad he has been found guilty. He has got what he deserved. We can rebuild our lives now.

"It's been horrible for our two boys."

The contents of the family's home were destroyed and they had to move out of the property for three months while repairs were carried out.

The court had heard that Brooks would regularly shout abuse at neighbours from his first floor flat, threatening to "burn the lot of you".

"He's terrorised everybody for years," said Mr Beaver.

Another neighbour, Paul Kerrigan, claimed other people living in the street have also been targeted and were frightened of Brooks.

"My kids have been frightened to death, they have not wanted to go and play out," he said. "Since he has been locked up on remand the street has totally changed.

"Everyone's kids are playing out and it's more family orientated now, whereas before everybody was hiding. He has terrorised everybody."