Belfast Telegraph

Man claims he planned to burn down east Belfast house while inside with wife, court hears

A man rescued from a house fire in east Belfast claimed he planned to burn it down while he and his wife were inside, the High Court heard on Monday.

Ian Anyon allegedly launched an arson attack on the terraced property at Reid Street last month after drinking a ten glass bottle of vodka, prosecutors said.

Refusing the 52-year-old's bid to be released on bail to return to the home, a judge said the incident could have had severe consequences for the couple and their neighbours.

Anyon, currently of no fixed abode, is alleged to have damaged by fire a property belonging to him with intent to endanger the life of his wife.

The court was told he called the Fire Service to the home on November 25.

Crews discovered a pile of clothing ablaze in a first floor bedroom, with Anyon lying on the bed a few feet away.

Substantial scorch marks and smoke damage had been caused to the room.

Prosecution counsel said Anyon had to be rescued from the property.

The accused told police he intended to burn the house down with him and his wife in it following a verbal disagreement, it was claimed.

She was said to  have been downstairs and unaware of his alleged actions.

Opposing bail, the prosecutor said the fire could have spread to other terraced houses.

Anyon told police he had drunk a bottle of vodka and couldn't recollect any argument or going to bed, the court heard.

"He remembers waking up outside on the pavement being given oxygen," the prosecution lawyer added.

Michael Boyd, defending, accepted his client has drink problems, but argued that it had been a one-off incident.

However, Mr Justice Colton ruled there was too great a risk of re-offending to release Anyon from custody.

He said: "It's an escalation of previous conduct arising from domestic disputes.

"No conditions I can think of would meet the risk at this time."

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