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Thread: Started fire in flats block

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Started fire in flats block

    Remanded pending jail sentence

    A DRUNKEN man started a fire in the block of flats where he lived, a north court heard yesterday.
    Neighbours made desperate efforts to alert Paul Fairweather outside his window and became alarmed when they saw he was not making any effort to quell the flames. He initially told them:- "There is no fire".
    Then Fairweather, 31, grabbed a cushion and proceeded to smother a carpet which was alight Wick Sheriff Court was told yesterday.
    Shortly afterwards, he was observed in his garden, challenging a neighbour to fight and later threatened and abused police officers who arrested him.
    Fairweather pleaded guilty on indictment to culpably and recklessly setting fire to a carpet at his council home at 37 Holborn Avenue, Thurso, on November 25, to the danger of residents in the flat. He admitted further charges of breach of the peace and abusive behaviour.
    Fiscal Fraser Matheson said that the fire had burned through the carpet onto a patch of flooring.
    A neighbour was contacting the police, as Fairweather made his way into his garden holding a pole behind his back. While shouting abuse, he alarmed neighbour John McGill by challenging him to fight saying- "Come into the garden and give me a square go."
    By the time the police arrived, Fairweather had returned to his flat and as the officers approached, he threw a gas cylinder out of the window.
    After a 55-minute conversation, said Mr Matheson, the accused was persuaded to come to the door but he warned that if the police tried to come in, "there would be a bit of a carry-on and someone would get stabbed."
    On the way to Wick police station, Fairweather repeatedly kicked the inside of the van and feined a fit, prompting the driver to pull up. He abandoned the pretence at the police station and became aggressive, struggled with the officers and subjected them to racially-aggravated abuse.
    Solicitor Michael Burnett said that Fairweather's anger had been triggered by a comment from the mother of his children that he would not be getting to see them.
    Mr Burnett: "His mood of anger and despair started him drinking".
    The solicitor added: "In his drunken state he knocked over an ash tray which ignited the carpet. My client accepts that he didn't attend to the outbreak as quickly as he should have done."
    Mr Burnett described Fairweather's behaviour towards the police going about their duties as "absolutely attrocious."
    Calling for a background report, Sheriff Andrew Berry said that "some sort of assessment of the accused" was required to address, if nothing else, his potential risk to the public, and it would also enable him to gauge the length of the prison sentence he would impose.
    Fairweather was further remanded and will reappear for sentence on March 1.
    Last edited by Nwicker60; 04-Feb-17 at 09:52.

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