Man eager for police to kill him,court told

A MAN has been jailed for three years for setting fire to himself and his home.

Anthony Whyman, 42, suffered serious burns when the blaze ripped through the property in Hutton Court, Eye.

He started the fire while police were on the scene responding to a call he made, during which he threatened to stab his wife.

Officers arrived to find a woman and two children leaving the house as a blaze broke out in the porch in the early hours of February 28.

Whyman was taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening burns to his hands and face.

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Seven people were evacuated from nearby properties amid fears of a gas leak after the fire had been put out.

Whyman pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life at Ipswich Crown Court on May 5.

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Before sentencing yesterday, the court heard reports into his mental state leading up to the arson and the events surrounding the blaze.

His lawyer, Joanne Eley, said he had “made efforts to ensure his wife and children were out of the house before setting the fire”.

She added that Whyman’s actions were completely out of character for someone with no history of starting fires and said he had been badly affected by the recent death of an elderly man he looked after as a private carer.

“He was his client and close friend and someone he referred to as being like a father,” she told Judge David Goodin.

“He was close to him for 25 years and though Mr Whyman was not immediately affected, two days after the funeral, while cleaning out the gentleman’s home, it started to rip him to pieces and his mental health appears to have started to deteriorate rather rapidly.”

Ms Eley added that her client had been struggling with a drink and drug problem and had in recent years started taking amphetamines.

She said that by calling police and making threats, Whyman had attempted to “engineer a situation where he would be killed by police”.

Whyman did not have a knife when police arrived and no-one else was injured during the drama.

Judge Goodin said Whyman had taken great care to get his wife and family out of the house before setting the fire, which he called an “apparent attempt to bring about your own destruction”.

Whyman was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and will serve half in custody.

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