Suicide bid man jailed

A SUICIDAL Felixstowe man who had to be rescued by police after he set light to his parents' rented terraced house has been jailed for 30 months.

Jane Hunt

A SUICIDAL Felixstowe man who had to be rescued by police after he set light to his parents' rented terraced house has been jailed for 30 months.

Mark Shirley, 23, barricaded himself in his ground floor bedroom in High Road West, Felixstowe, before ripping up strips of paper and setting light to bedding, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He then sat in a corner as smoke filled the room before he was rescued by police officers who smashed a window and dragged him to safety, said Peter Gair, prosecuting.

Shirley admitted arson and being reckless as to whether lives would be endangered. Jailing him Judge Peter Thompson described the incident as “dreadfully dangerous” and said that if the whole house had caught alight adjoining properties could have been affected.

Mr Gair said that during the afternoon of December 9 last year Shirley had self-harmed by cutting his wrists.

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Police and paramedics were called but left after Shirley refused to go to hospital. Later the same afternoon he had a “tantrum” and smashed a number or items and threw things out of a window.

He had then barricaded himself into his bedroom by putting furniture in front of the door before setting light to bedding.

As smoke filled the room police officers smashed a window to gain access and dragged Shirley to safety while attempting to put out the fire with an extinguisher.

Mr Gair said Shirley's father had paid �500 to repair the cost of the damage caused by the fire.

Roger Thomson for Shirley said his client had no previous convictions and had been trying to commit suicide. “Fortunately, due to the commendable actions of police officers he is here today. Without them he might not be.”

He said Shirley couldn't explain the motivation for what he did but a number of matters had been building up over a period of time. In addition some of his friends had been killed in a terrorist attack in Mumbai shortly before he started the fire.

“It would seem there was some sort of breakdown,” said Mr Thomson.

He said Shirley had no mental health issues and what he had done was out of character and unlikely to be repeated.