Arsonist jailed for “ugly, violent and spiteful” offences against disabled man in Ipswich

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

A man who tried to start a fire at the home of a disabled Ipswich man after they fell out about money has been jailed for 18 months.

Daniel Bird sprinkled petrol on a carpet next to the front door of Simon Bezant’s flat in St Peter’s Street, Ipswich, and was seen trying to ignite it with a lighter, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Joanne Eley, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Bezant was registered disabled as a result of a number of health issues, including epilepsy and osteoporosis, and used a walking frame.

He and Bird had been friends but had fallen out about money during 2017.

On November 7 Bird went to the flat and told Mr Bezant: “I want my money. You don’t know what I’m capable of.”

Bird had been agitated and pacing around and said he could kill someone, said Miss Eley.

He left the premises but returned later and when Mr Bezant’s friend Colin Lassman answered a knock at the door he saw Bird standing there with a bottle.

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Mr Lassman could smell petrol and noticed that the carpet near the door was soaking wet and heard Bird say: “I’m going to set light to this and burn him.”

He then saw Bird trying to ignite a lighter in close proximity to the petrol soaked carpet.

Miss Eley said that during the incident Bird had punched Mr Lassman in the face with a clenched fist and pushed Mr Bezant out of the way.

He had also melted a panic alarm belonging to Mr Bezant in a microwave oven.

Bird, 39, of Oulton Road North, Oulton, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered and two offences of assault by beating.

Jailing him for 18 months Judge David Goodin described the offences as “ugly, violent and spiteful”.

He said Mr Bezant had some disabilities and required a walking frame to get about.

“What you did could have had disastrous consequences but fortunately it didn’t,” he said.

Daniel Taylor for Bird said his client had no previous convictions and had committed the offence while his mind was warped by a cocktail of drink and drugs.

He said Bird had made a terrible mistake but fortunately no-one had been harmed.