Arson teen set fire in his home whilst his mum slept

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A teenager who started an early hours fire in the cellar of his Hipperholme home has been given a suspended sentence for arson.

Bradford Crown Court heard today (Tuesday) that Ruairi Moore’s mum Nicola Watson was asleep in bed and neighbours were sleeping when the blaze broke out at the mid-terraced property on George Street last nine months ago.

Prosecutor Nicoleta Alistari said the19-year-old had carried on drinking alcohol after his mother had gone to bed and it was at about 2 or 3am when the fire started in part of the cellar area.

The neighbours were alerted by loud banging and Moore, who had called 999, was heard shouting for his mother to get out of the house.

Miss Alistari said fire crews went into the smoke-filled cellar and had to use thermal-imaging equipment to locate the source of the blaze which was relatively small.

Moore denied deliberately starting the fire and suggested that he may have dropped a cigarette while he was in the cellar.

At an earlier crown court hearing Moore pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether his mum’s life would be endangered.

After reading a psychiatric report on Moore and a letter from his mother Recorder Anthony Hawks said he was prepared to suspend the 18-month sentence in a young offenders’ institution.

The judge said he was moved by the letter from Moore’s mother and the offence appeared to be a “one-off”,

Barrister Stephen Wood, for Moore, conceded that his client appeared to have a problem with alcohol and the probation service would be able to help with that issue.

Recorder Hawks, who suspended the custodial sentence for 18 months, told Moore he had admitted a very serious offence.

“You’d been drinking in the early hours of the 18th of March this year and for reasons that are still not entirely clear you managed to start a fire in a room in the basement.

“Any fire-setting is an extremely dangerous activity, you’ve got to understand that, and it is no excuse to say I can’t remember how it started because I had far too much to drink...that just makes it worse.”

As part of the suspended sentence order Moore will have to do 100 hours unpaid work for the community and comply with a rehabilitation activity requirement.

The judge told Moore he hoped he would repay the trust put in him by the court and his mother.