Flat fire was a ‘cry for help’ from teen

Flat fire was a ‘cry for help’ from teen

A TROUBLED teenager started a fire in his Ravensthorpe flat in a ‘cry for help’ after arguing with his girlfriend.

Reece Schofield, 18, poured the contents of a petrol can over the kitchen floor of his home on Garden Street in October.

He set the council property on fire just as a neighbour came to investigate shouting.

Leeds Crown Court heard that the night before Schofield rang his mother in distress, saying he had cut his arm.

But he refused to attend hospital and all she could do was remind him that he had work the next day.

At around 7am the following morning Schofield became upset about his girlfriend leaving him.

Duncan Ritchie, prosecuting, said he threw clothes at Ellie Wood and told her to leave but then begged her to stay.

Schofield next said he was going to burn the flat down, poured the petrol can and asked for a lighter.

A neighbour below heard Ms Wood ask “what are you doing?” before she left the property.

When he went to investigate the shouting the neighbour saw smoke pouring from the flat upstairs.

Schofield had to be forcibly restrained at a police station after trying to bite himself and accidentally biting one of the officers.

Anastasis Tassou, for Schofield, said his client had not intended to hurt anyone in starting the fire.

He said Schofield has an emotionally unstable personality disorder and added: “This was a genuine cry for help.”

Schofield admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and was sent to a young offender institution for 18 months.

Judge Guy Kearl QC said in spite of his condition and remorse custody was inevitable.

His actions had caused smoke to spread through his building, potentially putting others at risk, though damage was restricted to the kitchen.

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