Man jailed for ‘revenge’ arson attack

Mitchell Thomas was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court.Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Mitchell Thomas was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court.Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

An arsonist has been jailed after filming himself deliberately setting fire to a house in a ‘premeditated act of revenge’ while another man was locked inside of the building.

Mitchell Thomas, from Long Ashton, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court to four-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to arson.

The 26-year-old targeted a house in Bristol’s Feeder Road, Bristol on July 27 last year.

The court was told the victim of the attack had locked himself in a room to hide from Thomas, forcing his way into the house while he called the police.

Thomas, of Nelson Parade, then broke in and deliberately began to set fire to the kitchen.

He then used his mobile phone to record the blaze surrounding him while shouting in anger and firing abusive language at the victim.

Investigating officer for Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Rog Ibrahim, said lives were put at risk.

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He added: “Setting fire to a person’s home is one of the most serious types of offences which can be committed and was premeditated as an act of revenge by the defendant.”

“He used his mobile phone to video the fire as he walked through the kitchen shouting abuse towards the victim.

“He left the scene fully aware of the fire and made no attempt to extinguish it or call the emergency services.”

Police officers arrived within minutes of the call being received and caught Thomas near the scene before he could flee the area.

There was also a group of people outside the building who were shouting and throwing objects at a window of the house.

PC Ibrahim continued: “This house was in a terrace and Thomas not only put the occupants at serious risk of endangering their lives but also the neighbouring properties.”

Avon and Fire Rescue Service (AFRS) evacuated people from surrounding buildings in the neighbourhood.

As a result of the attack, more than £2,000 worth of damage was caused by the fire to the victim’s kitchen and home.

Figures from the Home Office now show more than one in 10 house fires were started deliberately last year in Avon.

The fire service tackled 67 cases of arson in 2017-18 – which makes up 11 per cent of all house fires in the area.

Thomas was jailed on November 21.