A DISTURBED man who refused to leave his blazing flat because he wanted to die has been locked up to protect the public.
Kyle Rory Timms had to be physically dragged from the ground floor flat in Mexborough as the flames took hold while other residents of the block fled for safety, a court heard.
The judge at Doncaster Crown Court was also told of a previous arson case involving the 23-year-old, and decided he posed a high risk to the public because of his reckless disregard for other people.
Judge Jacqueline Davies sentenced Timms to an indeterminate term for public protection, and he cannot apply for parole until he has completed a minimum of two-and-a-half years.
Timms, of Laburnum Road, pleaded guilty to a charge of arson being reckless as to whether others would be endangered, and separate offences of dangerous driving in a vehicle taken without the owner’s consent.
Prosecutor Corinne Wilson said the emergency services were called to the block of flats at 10.20am last July after neighbours reported a fire in Timms’ flat.
Two other residents, both women, one with a young baby, had got out safely and they later told police the defendant had been mentally ill and talking over the previous few days about setting fire to himself.
Ms Wilson said Timms refused to leave the flat and a policeman had to pull him to safety through the ground floor window.
“I started the fire, I wanted to kill myself,” he said.
The arson was committed while he was on bail for the dangerous driving, during which he deliberately drove a stolen Vauxhall Corsa at a friend’s car and overturned it during a high-speed police chase which had started in Swinton.
Two teenage girls were in the back of the car screaming at him to slow down.
When the police officer pursued him across a ploughed field Timms turned round and “growled” at him before being overpowered in a struggle during which the policeman had to strike him several times with his baton.
His record showed previous offences of attempted robbery, and arson when he started a fire in a police cell.
Defence counsel Kath Goddard said Timms accepted he would receive a custodial sentence but the arson was an offence committed “in absolute desperation by a man whose mental state was extremely fragile”.
“This was a genuine attempt to end his own life,” she said.
She said there had been a substantial improvement in his mental health while on remand because he was now on the right medication which “may be the one thing that has saved his life”.
But Judge Davies said Timms “did not accept full responsibility” for his actions or for the consequences of his behaviour on others.