A MAN who torched a car causing a gas leak and evacuation of two streets has pleaded guilty to arson.

Sean Almond, appeared via video link at Durham Crown Court, following a domestic incident in Walker Street, Bowburn, near Durham, on March 31.

Appearing before Judge James Adkin, he pleaded not guilty to arson with the intent to endanger life, but guilty to arson reckless as to whether life would be endangered. The plea was accepted by the Crown.

The 47-year-old of Bowburn also admitted damaging the property of a woman and to assaulting an emergency worker.

The court was told he had without lawful excuse destroyed by fire a Toyota Rav-4 belonging to himself and assaulted a police officer during the execution of his duty.

The Judge said there would need to be pre-sentence report before he could progress to sentence.

Vic Laffey, representing Almond, said in cases of arson it was always good practice to obtain a psychiatric report.

But Judge Adkin said a psychiatric report was only needed in case of people who had a fascination with fires.

The judge added: “This is a domestic incident, where he has set the fire as part of a row he has been having at home. I don't think this falls into the same category individuals who are fascinated by fire."

The case was adjourned to May 21 for sentencing. Almond was remanded in custody.