Man sentenced following house fire in West Moors

Man sentenced following house fire in West Moors

Caption: Phillip Evans © Dorset Police 2018

Crime | Posted: Thursday, November 15th, 2018 at 9:37 am | return to news

Man sentenced following house fire in West Moors

A man has been jailed for six years and four months after he deliberately set fire to a house in West Moors.

Man sentenced following house fire in West Moors

Caption: Phillip Evans © Dorset Police 2018

Phillip Evans, 55, of Ringwood Road, Three Legged Cross, appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court today, Wednesday 14 November 2018, after previously pleading guilty to arson with intent/reckless as to whether life was endangered and breach of a restraining order.

He was sentenced to six years and four months for the arson offence and handed a 21-month prison term to run concurrently for breach of a restraining order. The judge also ruled that due to the danger he poses to the public, Evans would have to serve an extended licence period of three years once released from prison.

At around 1pm on Tuesday 9 January 2018 Evans broke into a house belonging to a woman he knew on The Avenue and started a fire in a ground floor extension. No one was inside the address at the time of the fire. The fire service attended and extinguished the blaze, which had destroyed the entire house and caused damage to an adjoining property.

A large crowbar was found inside the property. Evans’ van was also discovered parked on the driveway of the address, which contained two five-litre plastic petrol cans and another crowbar. Each can was about two thirds full and contained a fluid that is believed to have been used as an accelerant.

Evans was subject to an order banning him from attending the address at the time of the fire.

A neighbour reported hearing a bang just before 1pm and went to the front of his house to check. He saw a van parked outside the address and smoke coming from the top of the house. He called the fire service and then saw Evans in the first floor bedroom window and called at him to get out. Evans then climbed out of the window.

A passer-by bravely rescued Evans by escorting him away from the front garden of the house and the fire.

A second man, who is a friend of the victim, was driving nearby at the time and saw the fire. He risked his own safety to approach the house and look for the victim to check she was not inside before being called back.

Officers arrived and arrested Evans. He was initially taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and was later transferred to custody to be interviewed.

Evans told officers he had no intention to harm the victim and checked no one was inside before he started the fire.

Detective Constable Tom Alsford, of Bournemouth CID, said, “Phillip Evans’ actions that day were extremely dangerous and reckless. Not only did he cause irreparable damage to the victim’s home and belongings, he also risked the lives of nearby residents and other people who bravely got close to the fire to rescue him and check no one else was inside.

“I would like to pay tribute to those individuals who displayed exceptional bravery that day and to the fire service for responding so quickly and preventing the fire from spreading even further.

“I hope the sentence of the court will bring some sense of closure to the victim after what has been a very traumatic ordeal.”

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