A man who lost all sense of reason during a drinking binge before setting fire to his village home has been jailed for a year.
Omagh Crown Court heard that Kieron John Wilson (35), of Garvan Park, Sion Mills, responded by saying “what fire, whose house?” when questioned by police shortly after the arson attack on October 4 last year.
The Tyrone man had to be rescued from the property by a neighbour whose life was put in danger, the court heard.
He admitted arson with intent to endanger life and two charges of threats to damage property and will serve a further period of 18 months on licence when released.
Imposing the sentence, Judge Geoffrey Millar QC said that Wilson’s actions had put his own life and the lives of neighbours in the adjoining house at risk.
“It is evident from the interview with the defendant conducted the following morning and after he had sobered up, that he recalled little of the events and was genuinely horrified when confronted with his conduct,” the judge said.
“There is no doubt that having stopped taking the medicine that restrains him from drinking, the defendant had gone on an alcoholic binge and lost all sense of reason.
“The degree of his intoxication can be best gauged by his reaction. He was... making little sense and when asked about the fire responded by saying “what fire, whose house?”
Pre-sentence reports had been prepared in the case and the court heard that Wilson was acting in an “irrational and unreasonable manner” prior to the incident.
As a result, his partner took their son to her mother’s house in Strabane where she received phone calls from Wilson in which he was in an agitated state, wanting to know where the boy was.
He then made comments which led her to believe he intended to burn the house down, and it was while dialling 999 that Wilson called again, threatening to burn down his mother-in-law’s house.
“The defendant started a fire which caused extensive smoke damage throughout large parts of the property and also structural damage to furniture, particularly in one bedroom,” the judge said.
“The total cost of repairs amounted to approximately £3,500. Of more importance, the defendant remained in the house and had to be rescued by a neighbour who thus put his own physical well-being in jeopardy.
“Moreover, given that the house is a semi-detached property and the fire was started around midnight, there was a potential risk to the family in the adjoining building.”