Stevenage drug user set fire to house in bid to ‘punish his parents’

Mark Glander. Picture: Herts Police

Mark Glander. Picture: Herts Police - Credit: Archant

A drug user who started a fire at a house next door to his family’s home in Stevenage has been jailed for three years.

Mark Glander started the fire at the mid-terraced house, which was unoccupied, after being told he had to leave his father and stepmother’s home in Archer Road.

Yesterday, Glander, 44, of The Haven in Stevenage, pleaded guilty to arson and being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Prosecutor Avirup Chaudhuri said the fire was started at the house on June 5 this year.

The court heard how, the day before, Glander had turned up at the home of his father and stepmother having not seen them since Christmas 2016 when they had asked him to leave their property.

Mr Chaudhuri explained that there were “difficulties” in his relationship with his family because of his problems with drugs.

He said Glander had been asked to leave the house that Christmas after evidence was found under his bed that he was using drugs.

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As a result, his family didn’t see him until June 4 when he turned up at their home and was allowed to stay the night.

The court was told that the following morning his stepmother told him he had to leave.

In a distressed state, Glander started a fire at the house next door.

It had been unoccupied for some time and the defendant, having got in, started the fire in a first floor bedroom.

His stepmother spotted smoke billowing out of the property moments later and the fire brigade were called and were able to quickly put out the flames.

Glander was seen outside screaming and holding onto a burning mattress.

He was arrested at the scene having suffered smoke inhalation.

“But for the swift intervention of the fire service things could have been a lot worse”, said Mr Chaudhuri.

Corinne Bramwell, defending, said her client had been a hard working man for much of his life.

But she said the death of his mother in 2011 and the break up of his marriage had caused his life to unravel and he began using Class A drugs.

Recorder Boothby told Glander he had committed the offence because he had been “feeling sorry for himself” and wanted to punish his parents, who were utterly fed up with him, in June of this year.