A man who set fire to his own flat during a drug-induced psychosis before jumping from a third-floor window has been locked up.

Karl Britton barricaded the door of his flat with weights and a fridge before starting the blaze in the block of flats in Darlington in June this year.

The 34-year-old was then seen walking towards the town centre carrying a large knife and a metal bar.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the blaze caused £3,000 worth of damage to the flats on Trinity Road that house vulnerable in the town.

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Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said: “The defendant barricaded himself inside the bedroom of his flat by blocking the door with weights, an ironing board and a fridge, which obstructed the fire brigade getting into the room when they were called to deal with the fire.

“He went to the flat window and was seen by a witness to throw a bottle out of the window and large amount of smoke was coming out of the window.

“He went to see if the defendant needed assistance and he threw a dumbbell bar and two knives out of the window before jumping from the window himself.”

Miss Haigh said the witness asked Britton if he was ok and his response was incomprehensible.

The defendant continued walking toward the town centre before posting the metal bar and a knife in a post box on Duke Street before he was arrested on June 12 this year.

In police interview, the defendant told officers he was paranoid and believed someone was following him.

The Northern Echo: Karl Britton. Picture: DURHAM CONSTABULARYKarl Britton. Picture: DURHAM CONSTABULARY (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Britton, of Brougham Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to causing arson being reckless to whether lives would be endangered and possession of a bladed article.

Stephen Hamill, in mitigation, said his client was suffering from amphetamine-induced ‘psychosis’ at the time of the arson and was no attempting to address his drug addiction.

He added: “I submit there is a lack of premeditation in this case, although he has built a barricade and set fire, it is something he has done with such mental disorder that I don’t think it would fit with premedication.”

Recorder Mark McKone KC jailed Britton for two years before urging him to take the opportunity to address his amphetamine addiction.

He added: “I have seen the photographs of the inside of your flat where significant damage has been caused, I’m surprised to hear the damage caused was only £3,000.

“Fortunately, no one else suffered fire damage in their flat.”

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