AN ARSONIST who was just 14 when he murdered his brother in a fire is doing well in prison – but not well enough to justify a cut in his sentence, a top judge has ruled.
Matthew Stringer used white spirit to start the blaze at his family home in Kitchin Road, Wombwell, in 2006.
His mother, sister and two of his older brothers, along with a pregnant woman, managed to escape the blaze by leaping from upstairs windows. However, his 15-year-old brother, Adam, did not wake up as he was wearing headphones and died in the fire.
Stringer – who told witnesses he wanted to kill his mother after his parents separated – was convicted of murder at Sheffield Crown Court and ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years behind bars.
At London’s High Court, Stringer’s lawyers argued his progress in custody had been so ‘exceptional’ he deserved a cut in the term.
Mr Justice Cranston told the court Stringer had improved his relationship with his parents and was now able ‘to talk with them about the happy childhood days spent with Adam.’
He said, most importantly, Stringer now accepts responsibility for his Adam’s death.
However, Stringer faced a ‘high hurdle’ in showing his behaviour was so exceptional as to justify a cut in his jail term and the judge said he had come to the ‘regretful conclusion’ that his progress ‘falls short of that standard’.