A life sentence has been handed to a Doncaster man who caused a gas blast which endangered his neighbours.
Stephen Guest, pictured left, was said to have taken a dislike to another tenant in a block of bedsits in the large Edwardian villa where he lived in Town Moor – and left the gas rings on his cooker hob turned on before leaving the property after starting a fire. The 43-year-old was given a life sentence, with a minimum term of seven years, when he appeared before a judge at Sheffield Crown Court.
Six other flats in the house of multiple occupation in Windsor Road had to be evacuated during the incident just before 10pm on February 22 this year, because of fears of further explosions.
Fire crews had to break into the flat occupied by Guest and found more than one seat of fire.
The alarm was raised when some of the other residents reported a loud bang and the firefighters found the kitchen well alight, with a serious amount of damage caused.
Guest was arrested the next day and remained in custody until his court appearance.
No-one was injured, but fire investigators quickly discovered the fire had been started deliberately.
Guest had left the gas hobs on and some rubbish, cardboard and candles had been set alight in the kitchen. Police said they believed Guest was trying to kill one of the other residents by starting the fire. After his arrest he was charged with attempted murder, which he admitted when he made his court appearance.
The judge ordered he must serve at least seven years before he can be considered for parole.
After the case, Det Con Andy Gray said: “The unpredictability of fire means it can quickly become out of control.
“Starting a fire can not only lead to property damage, but can often have fatal consequences. Thankfully, in this case, no one was injured.”