Man jailed for Rotherham arson attack

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A MAN who set fire to a house - causing over £5,000 of damage - after a disagreement with his partner has been locked up.

Philip Ricketts, aged 27, of Benton Way, Kimberworth, Rotherham, put out the blaze in a few minutes before calling police to the scene and handing himself in.

Sheffield Crown Court heard he had been falling out with his partner Katrina Hall over the Christmas period.

Ricketts started the fire in a bedroom after she was ‘dismissive’ to him and went out to celebrate on January 31, New Year’s Eve, 2012, leaving him alone.

A rope and note found at the scene suggested he had tried to take his life, the court was told.

He had also sent Miss Hall a text message saying he was ‘so sorry’ for what he had done.

Jailing Ricketts for two years, Judge Simon Lawler QC said: “It seems you realised what you’d done and tried to put it out and it seems that you were seriously considering suicide.”

The court was told there had been ‘friction’ in the couple’s relationship because Ricketts disapproved of Miss Hall’s involvement with friends who used recreational drugs, including cannabis, regularly.

In a statement Miss Hall admitted the pair had not been ‘particularly nice’ to each other the last time they spoke. But he had never done, or threatened, such actions before.

Dermot Hughes, mitigating, said Ricketts had worked hard to clear their debts but it was ‘too much for him’.

His action was “borne out of desperation,” he added.

“Something must have been going badly wrong in his life to be at the stage where he thought of taking his own life.”

Ricketts, who pleaded guilty to arson at the first opportunity, had also shown remorse, Mr Hughes added.