Arson teen must undergo mental health treatment

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A TEENAGER who was convicted of trying to start a fire at the home of a disabled Selby woman has been given a three-year youth rehabilitation order and must undergo mental health treatment.

The boy, who was 14 at the time and who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of attempted arson, being reckless as to whether life would be endangered, by a jury at Doncaster Crown Court in September.

Last year, the court heard he had torn out pages from a schoolbook and attempted to set it alight, then tried to force it through the letterbox of the property, where a disabled woman and her son were living.

The boy pleaded guilty to criminal damage to a set of garden gnomes two days before the fire incident and to a public order offence close to the victim’s home, but denied the attempted arson.

During the trial, the court heard he had received a reprimand from police for arson six months before the two incidents on November 30, 2011.

After reading psychiatric, psychological and a probation service report, Judge Jeremy Baker QC adjourned sentencing while inquiries were made about possible psychiatric treatment for the boy that could be included in his sentence.

Yesterday, he was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to a three-year youth rehabilitation order with intensive supervision, a three-year mental-health treatment requirement, and a six-month curfew.

Insp Michelle Falkingham, of Selby Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “This incident could have had a tragic outcome and the defendant has been convicted of a serious offence. His actions were completely unacceptable and have had a long-lasting effect on the victim and her family.

“Hopefully his sentence will show him that there is no place for that sort of behaviour in our community and will give him the chance to reflect on his reckless and irresponsible crime.”

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