Drug abuser with mental health history given hospital order for starting fire in bedroom of parents' home in Tow Law

Man who set fire to bedding at parents' home given hospital order at Durham Crown Court

Man who set fire to bedding at parents' home given hospital order at Durham Crown Court

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Static HTML image by , Chief Reporter (Durham)

A MAN with a history of mental health problems and drug misuse was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order for setting fire to bedding at his parents’ home.

Paranoid schizophrenic Neil Sidebottom, who had taken crack cocaine and cannabis that day, set a duvet alight in a bedroom at the mid-terrace house in Tow Law, County Durham, on August 30 last year.

Durham Crown Court heard that Sidebottom had left the premises, in Park Terrace, by the time his parents returned to discover thick smoke emerging from the upstairs bedroom, shortly before 5pm.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said the fire brigade was summoned and the blaze was quickly dampened down.

A fire officer confirmed the two seats of the blaze were on the bed.

Sidebottom returned at 6.30pm and was arrested by police, who found him sitting with his head in his hands outside the house.

He told police that when his parents left to go to the Post Office he searched unsuccessfully for money to buy more drugs.

Mr Dryden said Sidebottom told officers of his difficulties, including diabetes, epilepsy and paranoid schizophrenia.

He speculated that due to the drugs he had taken earlier that day he may have “blacked out”, as he could not recall starting the fire.

Mr Dryden said Sidebottom has a long history of drug and dishonesty offences, including stealing from his family to buy drugs.

Chris Baker, mitigating, said reports by two consultant psychiatrists confirmed Sidebottom’s lengthy mental health history, which, combined with his chronic drug misuse, requires attention.

Sidebottom, 37, of Gladstone Street, Crook, admitted two counts of arson.

Having heard the agreed medical evidence, Recorder Robert Adams ordered him to be detained for treatment in a medium secure mental health hospital.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree