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Burglar set fire to Acomb flat
A BURGLAR who put the lives of the residents of a block of flats at risk by starting a fire in a young family’s home has been jailed for four years.
Judge Guy Kearl QC said Steven Douglas McShane may have been trying to cover his tracks when he set fire to the curtains in a first-floor flat in Thoresby Road, Acomb, and used an accelerant to increase the blaze.
The judge told McShane at York Crown Court: “It is fortunate no-one was injured. It was the result of good luck rather than any action by you.”
Alan Mitcheson, prosecuting, said a couple with a two-year-old child lived in the flat. They were out when, at about 4pm on April 2, a neighbour spotted McShane climbing out of the flat through its front door.
He had smashed a window. He refused to stop and walked off towards St Stephen’s Road. After firefighters put the fire out, police found items gathered ready for removal inside and blood carrying McShane’s DNA.
McShane, 40, of Lydham Court, Acomb, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary and arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered. Mr Mitcheson said after he admitted the arson, McShane was given bail, despite missing an earlier court appearance.
While at liberty, he tried to smash his way into the house of someone he knew in Barkstone Avenue, Chapelfields, after dark with a claw hammer, but the householder returned and confronted him on the doorstep.
For McShane, Taryn Turner said he had experienced a “turbulent” childhood and had a long history of drug abuse, starting with cannabis when he was 16.
He was now addicted to opiates, but since being remanded in custody after the attempted burglary, he had put on three stone in weight and probably needed a spell behind bars.