Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Drunken arsonist jailed for two years

A drunken arsonist who slit his wrists before setting fire to the flat he had shared with his girlfriend and baby son, and then phoned police to give himself up has been jailed for two years after agreeing to later serve a further year on probation.

Belfast Crown Court heard that when 33-year-old Stephen James Graham set fire to the groundfloor flat in Clifton Park Avenue on October 7 last year, he realised “his actions were reckless” and could have harmed others, but it was never his intention to do so.

Judge Norman Lockie, sitting in Antrim, said while the offence of arson was a very serious matter and Graham had acted on impulse and emotional stress, he is not considered to pose a significant risk to others.

Prosecuting lawyer Philip Henry said that shortly before midnight on October 7 the alarm was raised about the fire. A short time later there were two further 999 calls to the police by Graham confessing to starting the blaze and telling them he was waiting for them to pick him up.

“He told police, I started the fire and I'm putting my hands up to it,” added Mr Henry.

The lawyer said that Graham was in an agitated state but denied having any intention to harm anyone.

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