Jail for arsonist who started fire in a St Albans school
A CUSTODIAL sentence has been given to a 16-year-old boy who set fire to a St Albans school earlier this year. The teenager appeared at St Albans Crown Court this afternoon (Friday) having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to arson, being reckless as t
A CUSTODIAL sentence has been given to a 16-year-old boy who set fire to a St Albans school earlier this year.
The teenager appeared at St Albans Crown Court this afternoon (Friday) having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
Using an accelerant and paper, he set fire to a plastic chair in a room of the main building at Verulam School, late in the morning of Tuesday, February 24.
The flames quickly spread to neighbouring classrooms and the roof cavity, causing damage which cost in the region of �103,000 to repair.
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All pupils were evacuated from the school and sent home for the day.
The 16-year-old responsible, who lives in St Albans, was arrested at the scene as firefighters were tackling the blaze.
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On searching the teenager at the police station, officers found a glove in his pocket which tested positive for traces of the accelerant which was found to have been used in starting the blaze during a subsequent fire investigation.
Charges against the teenager relating to a separate but small fire, which was started in a bin in the same room at the school on February 23, were dropped after a 14-year-old boy was sentenced for criminal damage for the offence.
But the 16-year-old admitted being aware of the fire and was captured on CCTV with the 14-year-old boy prior to the incident.
The 16-year-old's defence barrister, Maryam Hassan Syed, asked Judge Marie Catterson to consider making a specially tailored order recommended in a pre-sentence report as an alternative to sending him to prison.
But Judge Catterson said she had no other choice but to hand down a 12 month sentence, half of which must be spent in custody.