Man jailed for setting fire to his own home
8:10am Friday 1st February 2013 in By Scott D'Arcy
A MAN who was rescued by neighbours as he tried to kill himself by setting light to his council flat has been jailed for four years.
David Jones was dragged to safety by other residents in the block after he used a cigarette lighter to start the blaze at his West Swindon home.
The 33-year-old had taken a cocktail of prescription drugs, along with alcohol, and was suffering from depression when he tried to end it all.
Neighbours Roy Arnold and Wesley Kelly and delivery man Paul Campbell, came to his rescue and were handed a police bravery award last year.
Mr Arnold, 37, said: “I think prison might be the best thing for him because he needs help.
“He’s still got his life and he might be able to sort through his problems.”
Mr Campbell said: “We didn’t know the circumstances at the time but we would probably all do the same again if we did.
“His problems must have been drastic for him to want to do that but now he can change his ways.”
A number of other flats in the block also suffered damage from fire, smoke and water during the incident shortly after midday.
Claire Marlow, prosecuting, said: “It was the neighbours who got Mr Jones out of the flat prior to the arrival of the fire brigade, who then managed to put the fire out.”
When Jones was questioned he said he recalled being in the flat having been drinking while taking valium and diazepam then waking up in the ambulance.
Jones, of Crawford Close, Freshbrook, admitted a charge of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
Rob Ross, defending, said: “It is apparent from all the reports we have he had been sliding down a slope and this was always likely to happen.
“His depression was serious and his abuse of prescription drugs and other drugs got worse. His drinking was also very bad.
“He had managed to get off not only heroin but also methadone a few weeks before this happened but, as so many do, his drinking got worse and his depression got worse and worse and he tried to kill himself.
“He acknowledges that the way he did it, although he can't remember it, is something he had to be punished for as there was risk to others.
“I ask the court to take it from him that his intentions on that day was only to harm himself and he did it in quite a brutal way.
“He did received quite serious injuries in the fire.”
He said in the past his client had been badly injured in a car accident and also when he was attacked by a dog.
Jailing him Judge Douglas Field said: “You were in your flat and you set fire to it, that flat was in a block of flats and there were residents who were elderly.
“It was your neighbours, those neighbours who had been put at risk by this reckless behaviour, who got you out.”