Revenge arsonist jailed after pushing lit firelighter through letterbox of family home in Halifax

A revenge arsonist has been jailed for five years after he targeted a family home in the Ovenden area of Halifax and pushed a lit firelighter through the letterbox.

By Court Reporter
Friday, 28th January 2022, 2:17 pm
Updated Friday, 28th January 2022, 2:18 pm

Michal Calka, 32, carried out the attack in the early hours of May 30 last year while a couple and their young daughter were in bed.

Fortunately the male occupant was still awake watching Netflix in the early hours and when the smoke alarms went off he was able to see flames at the front door when he went onto the landing.

Prosecutor Austin Newman told Bradford Crown Court today (Fri) that the man could see the lit firelighter hanging from the letterbox and was able to put out the flames with water from the kitchen.

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Michal Calka, 32, from Rastrick was jailed at Bradford Crown Court

His partner was also disturbed by the alarms and she described the landing area starting to fill with smoke.

Calka, who had earlier tried setting fire to a summer house in an adjoining property, was captured on CCTV leaving a relative’s home nearby shortly and approaching the property shortly before there was a flash of flame.

During the police inquiry into the attack they arrested Calka and found a jumper smelling of smoke as well as rucksack containing two lighters.

Calka, of Thornes Park, Rastrick, Brighouse, admitted recklessly starting the fire at the house and today Recorder Christopher Knox said it had been done as revenge for some perceived “slights”.

A jury found him not guilty of a charge of arson with intent to endanger life, but before his trial he had admitted the less serious offence of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.

“What you did on the night of May 30, 2021, was wicked, evil and extremely dangerous,” Recorder Knox told Calka via an interpreter.

Recorder Knox said Calka had been in drink at the time and was intent on revenging himself when he put the firelighter through the letterbox.

He said he was giving Calka one-third credit for his guilty plea and reduced his jail term to five years, but added:”I cannot give you credit for remorse because I frankly see none.”

“I do not think you fully understand, and people must understand, if you set fire or try to set fire to somebody’s house when the house are in it it’s enormously serious.”

As part of the sentence Recorder Knox imposed an indefinite restraining order which bans Calka from contacting the couple in any way and the judge also told him he was banned from ever going into their street again.

Calka’s barrister Giles Grant said his client was seeking treatment for his alcohol problem while in custody and was also engaging with the mental health services and it was hoped he could put this “isolated and terrible incident” behind him.

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