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VIDEO: Hartlepool killer jailed for life after man died in arson attack

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CRAZED arsonist Paul Nash threatened to torch his own mother’s house just two days after he killed a vulnerable man by setting fire to his house.

Nash – who was jailed for life on Friday for the manslaughter of dad-of-three Andrew Simon, 44 – had a history of making chilling fire threats to people he had a grievance with, it has emerged.

That even included his own family when he set fire to his mum’s back door and threw a brick through the window.

A year before Nash, 30, threatened to petrol bomb a shopkeeper’s car after he had been barred from his shop.

Then just two days after starting the fatal fire at Mr Simon’s terraced house in Dent Street, on June 11 last year, he threatened to torch his mum’s house just because she had refused to give him a lift in her car.

It is still not known what motive Nash had for starting the fire, but Teesside Crown Court heard he had a disagreement with two other men at the address earlier that night.

The court was told that just hours before starting the fire Nash told police he was angry that other people were “getting away with stuff round there”.

Mr Simon’s home became a haven for local drug users and drinkers, including Nash, who took advantage of his alcohol and mental health problems.

Nash returned to Mr Simon’s house after midnight when everybody else had left and went inside for four minutes.

CCTV recovered by police showed him looking in the front window before walking off.

Nick Dry, prosecuting, said: “Apparent from the CCTV was a clear flickering light, flames it would have to be that were visible from the front window.”

Nash initially claimed that the fire had been started by a carelessly discarded match.

But forensic evidence showed he had gathered various pieces of rubbish together and set fire to them on the sofa, causing it “to effectively go up like a bonfire,” added Mr Dry.

Soon after a next door neighbour heard “crashing” noises and phoned the fire brigade.

“Upon looking out his bedroom window he saw smoke billowing from next door.”

Firefighters found Mr Simon unconscious on his bedroom floor.

He later died in hospital from smoke inhalation.

On June 13, Nash threatened to burn his mother’s house down to his dad.

Mr Dry said: “He threatened to go up to his mother’s house and ‘torch the place’.”

Nash, who’s address was given as Holme House Prison, was arrested on July 16 after police recovered local CCTV.

He later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

His previous arson threats were revealed in court when his previous convictions were read out.

Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said: “There appears to be no reason that I can put, not that it is of any comfort to Mr Simon’s family, as to why my client started the fire.

“He didn’t believe anybody was in but he clearly didn’t make any checks.”

Jailing Nash for life with a minimum term of 10 years, The Recorder of Middlesbrough Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said: “A deeply worrying aspect of the case is this, you did that for no apparent reason.

“Whatever grievance you may or may not have had must have been so slight as to be now forgotten by you. Either that or you started the fire out of sheet wickedness.

“Even if you genuinely believed he wasn’t in bed, which I doubt, thereafter once the fire was established and you were aware of it you took no steps whatsoever to call the emergency services.

“He was a man who had shown nothing but kindness to you.

“You and others persistently took advantage of his kindness and took advantage of his vulnerability.

“In short Mr Nash, I’m satisfied you pose and are a dangerous individual.

“The only appropriate sentence bearing in mind the nature of this offence and the risk you pose is one of life imprisonment.”

 

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