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Man jailed for arson on Staple Hill flat while occupants slept

Added on 13 June 2018 at 11:34

A man has been jailed for setting fire to a house while the occupants were asleep inside.

Alan Smith, 55 of Briar Way, Fishponds, was convicted of arson reckless as to endanger life and at Bristol Crown Court this morning (June 13) he was jailed for 5 years and 10 months.

The court heard how at about 4am on the 7 December 2017, Smith drove to Nelson House Flats in Staple Hill, Bristol with a number of homemade petrol bombs.

Alan Smith

Smith targeted a particular ground floor flat as he had an ongoing feud with an occupant.

He threw the petrol bombs at the bedroom window while the occupants slept. The window frame and inner net curtain were engulfed in flames.

Detective Carl Spicer explained: “Once the double-glazed window smashed, Smith threw a bottle containing more petrol into the flat.

“Fortunately it did not ignite but petrol was strewn across the bedroom.

“Smith only stopped throwing petrol into the flat once his own hand caught on fire and he left a burnt glove at the location as he ran away.”

Smith left a number of other petrol bombs at the location which he did not throw.

Fortunately both occupants were able to escape and no one was injury during the incident.

He later left the Bristol area and avoided police attempts to locate him.

During a search of Smith’s home address, a further petrol bomb was located at the rear of the address.

Det Spicer said: “Despite the ongoing feud between Smith and the occupant of the flat, there was no justification for this deliberate act of undue recklessness.

“A considerable amount of time and planning went into the preparation for this attack. He attended the location at a time when people would have been sleeping and took with him a large number a petrol bombs.

“There was enough combustible material within the flat that it could’ve easily resulted in fatal consequences for those in the flat and those in surrounding flats. It was only luck that the fire did not take hold.

“Smith showed a complete lack of self-control and his actions could have resulted in devastating effects.

“I hope that this sentence shows the public that it is never acceptable to take the law into your own hands.”