Mentally-ill Sheffield man threw flaming projectile through hole in neighbour's ceiling

A mentally-ill Sheffield man, who threw a flaming projectile through a hole he drilled in his neighbour's ceiling, has been sentenced to a hospital order.

A mentally-ill Sheffield man, who threw a flaming projectile through a hole he drilled in his neighbour's ceiling, has been sentenced to a hospital order.

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A mentally-ill Sheffield man, who threw a flaming projectile through a hole he drilled in his neighbour's ceiling, has been sentenced to a hospital order.

Sheffield Crown Court was told how on the evening of July 7 last year, David Binns was using his computer in the living room of his flat in Deer Park Close, Stannington when he heard the sound of drilling directly above him, causing him to become concerned that something was about to come through the floor.

Prosecuting David Gregor explained: "He stood on a chair, and all of a sudden a flame burst out from the ceiling.

"Needless to say, he jumped off the chair."

This caused the curtain pelmet to catch light, which Mr Binns quickly extinguished using water, the court heard.

Mr Binns had never met his upstairs neighbour Stuart Sims but told police the pair had shouted profanities at each other whilst in their respective properties in the weeks leading up to the incident.

PC Paul Heaton was called to the scene at around 8.35pm, and when he knocked on Sims' door the 46-year-old opened the door holding a lighter.

When asked about the incident, Sims told the officer: "I've heard strange sounds and smells coming from the flat below.

"So I drilled a hole and poured petrol down it."

Sims was arrested, and a police search recovered lighter fluid from his flat as well as a lighter fuel-soaked piece of string found in Mr Binn's flat.

The court was told how Sims was found to be in a state of paranoid psychosis at the time of the incident, consistent with someone suffering from schizophrenia.

After a short trial, a jury decided Sims had committed one count of arson with intent to endanger life, in relation to the incident.

Presiding over the case, Judge David Dixon explained to the jury that their verdict meant he had the power to make Sims' the subject of a hospital order, by way of a sentence.

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