A MAN was forced to jump from a first floor window after a neighbour set a fire targeting another flat.

Durham Crown Court heard that Dominic Graham, from Chester-le-Street, had been involved with an argument with another man shortly before he started the fire, which forced a neighbour to jump out of his window to escape the flames.

Graham told police he had set fire to a bin outside the man’s home in Auckland.

Graham pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether property was damaged and lives of others were endangered.

The chain of events started when the pair became embroiled in a row on August 19, which resulted in Graham throwing a recycling bin over the other man’s car and threatening to smash the vehicle up.

After the man left, he was seen lighting a fire in his bin next to his door, while adding material to fuel it.

He was captured on video and was heard shouting abuse.

A neighbour, who lived in the flat above the one being targeted, was watching tv when he heard his fire alarm go off.

After discovering his exit was blocked by a wall of flames, he was forced to jump to safety from a first floor window.

The court heard that the fire had caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Police found Graham hiding in a loft, having barricaded the front door.

Lewis Kerr, mitigating, said Graham had psychological issues stemming from childhood.

He added: “Whatever the rights and wrongs here, there was a dispute that led to this offence. That is something that gave rise to a brief period of time where he was working from a gut level.”

Judge Neil Barker jailed Graham, giving him a 52-month sentence.

He said: “It would have been apparent to you that there was a property above the victim’s property. At the time this occurred you were aware that he was not in his house and you would have been aware that there was at least a risk that others were in the property.”