Car arsonist spared jail

A PARTY-GOER who broke into a car because he did not have the taxi fare to get home set it on fire after it failed to start.

Jamie Scott Turner was caught on CCTV forcing his way inside the Vauxhall Corsa on the owner’s drive on Hartlepool’s West View estate after leaving a party.

But a court heard Turner cut his hand when he was breaking into the vehicle and when the car would not start he set alight to it to destroy the evidence.

Around an hour later the 21-year-old also tried to steal a Yamaha motorbike in a bid to get home, but was arrested after being disturbed.

Turner was spared immediate jail when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court for sentencing, but he was banned from entering Hartlepool for two years.

He took the Corsa from a drive in Bruce Crescent just after midnight on March 20.

Richard Wilson, prosecuting, said: “CCTV showed the defendant approach the Corsa, pull back the driver’s side door and gain entry.

“He removed the handbrake and rolled the car off the drive then a short while later set fire to it.

“It was a total write-off.”

An hour later police were called to two men trying to steal a motorbike from an outhouse at Carrick Street.

Turner was found hiding in a nearby garden and quickly linked to the theft and arson of the Corsa from the CCTV footage.

He told police he was “full of tablets” after taking diazepam and temazepam pills mixed with alcohol.

Mr Wilson added: “He had been to a party before the offences. He found he didn’t have enough money for a taxi and saw the Corsa.

“He pushed it down the street when he couldn’t get it to start and lit a piece of paper under the seat.

“He did this because his hand was bleeding and his blood was on the car.”

Turner admitted taking a car without consent, arson and burglary at an earlier hearing.

Ian Mullarkey, mitigating, said: “These offences were the consequence of drunken confused thinking by this young man and his rash attempt to get home that evening.”

He added Turner had complied with previous court orders, was looking for work and was getting counselling for issues from his past.

He was given a 12-months prison sentence that was suspended for two years, with probation supervision.

Turner, of Enid Gardens, Blackhall Colliery, was also banned from entering Hartlepool for two years at his own lawyer’s request so he could not mix with the wrong people.

Judge George Moorhouse said: “They are very serious offences which fully justify a custodial sentence.

“It’s quite clear you have suffered as a child and had a difficult and at times unpleasant upbringing.

“I’m going to take a chance on you.”

Turner was also given a six month curfew between 7am and 7pm.