Judge’s mercy for man who set fire to front door of home

PUBLISHED: 11:50 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:09 06 May 2010

A MAN who set fire to the front door of his home while his family were inside has been shown mercy by a judge. Craig Nightingale, 20, said he was more drunk than he had ever been and argued with his brother before the arson attack. Simon Wilshire, prose

A MAN who set fire to the front door of his home while his family were inside has been shown mercy by a judge.

Craig Nightingale, 20, said he "was more drunk than he had ever been" and argued with his brother before the arson attack.

Simon Wilshire, prosecuting at Luton Crown Court this week, said Nightingale left the house in Waterdell Lane, St Ippolyts, and used petrol his father kept for a chainsaw to splash the door, which he then ignited.

His father and brother heard the whoosh as the petrol ignited and saw flames at the bottom of the door. They dialled 999 but managed to put out the fire, which caused about £1,000 damage.

Nightingale surrendered to police the following day, said Mr Wilshire.

Inside the house at the time were his mother and father, brother and two sisters, one aged just two, the court was told.

Harry Oliver, defending, said: "The only explanation for his behaviour was the drink. He had consumed a greater quantity than ever before but intends to forever stay away from alcohol."

He said it had also emerged that he been effected by being bullied at school and redirected his anger towards those close to him. He had returned to live at home while on bail.

Nightingale pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered. He was given a 51-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months with supervision. He was also ordered to pay £650 costs.

Judge Jeffrey Burke QC told him: "Quite obviously your family were horrified and distressed by what happened, but now feel guilty that police got involved and you got enmeshed in the law.

"But they did what was right. This was far too serious to be swept under the carpet and it has unearthed a problem which needed to be addressed - your anger and frustration from bullying in your earlier life.

"I am not going to send you to prison today, I don't think it is necessary to take that step. I don't think the courts will see you again.


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