South Yorkshire man was “out of his head” when he set fire to family home
A depressed South Yorkshire man who set fire to his family home and endangered the lives of neighbouring families has been locked up.
Kamran Ali left a garage without paying for £6 of petrol in a can, then returned to the mid-terrace house on Godstone Road, in Rotherham, and started multiple fires over two floors.
He left the house, locked the door and walked off, leaving his next door neighbour, who was at home with her children, to call the fire brigade, prosecutor Beverley Wright told Sheffield Crown Court.
The June 1 blaze caused "substantial damage" before it was extinguished. Ali later told police "he was under a great deal of stress."
Ms Wright said the starting point for the offence was four years, with a range of two to six years. He was jailed for four months, in November last year, for affray and possession of a blade.
Sean Fritchley, mitigating, said Ali was "deeply ashamed" but had "no clear memory of the offence." He had been renovating the property and lives around the corner.
He said he had been the main carer for his father, who suffers from mental health problems, since his mother died 12 years ago.
His long-term ex-partner took their own life in December of last year, Mr Fritchley said, and Ali's depression and anxiety were exacerbated by the lockdown.
"He started using alcohol as a coping mechanism. He began suffering auditory hallucinations."
Addressing the judge in the hope of avoiding a custodial sentence, Ali said: "I didn't know what I was doing. I was out of my head."
Ali, aged 31, of Gerard Road, Rotherham, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, and theft, at the first opportunity.
Judge Sarah Wright said she was struck by the doctor's report which concluded that Ali was "appropriately remorseful."
But she said there were numerous seats of fire and considerable damage was caused.
"It could have led to catastrophic consequences," she told him.
On Thursday, September 24, she sentenced him to 32 months in prison. He will serve up to half of that time before he is released on licence.