A drug addict who was paid to firebomb two houses when families were home at night has been jailed for more than six years.
Julie Young, who has appeared on the Channel 4 show Benefits Street, had to grab her severely disabled 14-year-old son and escape her home after one of the attacks.
Since this, our world has changed. We live in constant fear.Julie Young - victim
His two round-the-clock carers and Julie’s daughter were also foreced to flee their Kingston Road, Stockton, home.
Liam Mandeville had been paid £1,000 to first petrolbomb the first house in Lime Trees Close, Middlesbrough, when George Sanderson was asleep on the sofa and his daughter Jade, 21, was in bed upstairs.
They fled in terror as the kitchen and lounge were engulfed in flames at 2pm on November 16, 2013.
Three months later, Mandeville, who was 19, was hired to drive out Julie’s family in Kingston Road.
He flung a firebomb through the lounge window at 9pm on February 14, last year.
Julie told police later: “Since this our world has changed.
“We live in constant fear. This was a violent, cowardly act and we have had sleepless nights ever since.”
Mandeville, now 21, refuses to say who paid him for fear of reprisals, but on November 15 he walked into Peterlee police station and he confessed to the two attacks, Teesside Crown Court was told.
Mandeville’s lawyer said that he had not been told about the tragic family living there, and he was stricken by guilt.
Prosecuter David Crook said that CCTV footage at the second blaze showed there were two people outside the mid-terrace house.
Martin Scarborough, defending, said that Mandeville was in debt and he had been offered a large financial reward to firebomb the houses.
He added: “He was told that the intention was that these people would be scared off, and he got involved.
“When he heard about the severely disabled child in the second house he could not live with himself and he handed himself in.
“He would never have been charged and he has shown remorse.”
A psychiatrist said that Mandeville, of St Catherines Walk, Hartlepool, was not suffering from any mental illness and it was unlikely that he would commit similar offences again.
Judge Simon Hickey told Mandeville: “The potential of killing somebody was high,and you have pleaded guilty to two very serious offences.”
Mandeville was jailed for six years and eight months after he pleaded guilty to two charges of arson being reckless as to whether lives were endangered.