Bognor man jailed for setting fire to his home

The fire happened in Collyer Avenue in Bognor. Picture: Google Maps/Google Streetview
The fire happened in Collyer Avenue in Bognor. Picture: Google Maps/Google Streetview

A man who barricaded himself in his bedroom and set fire to it while his housemate was eating her lunch has been jailed for four years.

Dawid Stroinski, 31, of Collyer Avenue in Bognor, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether the life would be endangered.

Fire can spread very quickly and the potential for fatalities is obvious

Defence barrister David Bathurst

Appearing by video link from Lewes Prison, he was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court today.

Prosecutor Darren Bartlett said: “At about midday on April 4 he was in the house with one other person.

“She was in her bedroom eating her lunch when she heard the smoke alarm sounding

“She thought she might have left the oven on and asked the defendant what was going on.

“From his bedroom he replied ‘fire’.”

She rushed to his room and tried to open the door, but he had blocked it with a wardrobe.

The court heard that she managed to persuade him to open it a small amount, and then she grabbed him and took him downstairs. She then went back to rescue her cat and left the building.

Mr Bartlett told the judge that once outside the defendant said: ‘I have paranoia after drugs. Maybe they will finally lock me up in the nuthouse.’

Within five minutes the emergency services arrived. The fire brigade put out the blaze and the police arrested Stroinski.

The blaze caused £30,000 worth of damage to the house, the court heard.

Defence barrister David Bathurst said: “As we have seen so tragically in the case of Grenfell, fire can spread very quickly and the potential for fatalities is obvious.

“In this case thankfully nobody was killed but a great deal of damage was done.”

He told the court that despite different accounts from Stroinski, the defendant had insisted to him that it was a suicide attempt.

Judge William Ashworth sentenced Stroinski to four years in prison for the offence, cut down from six because of his guilty plea.

He told the court that according to reports the ‘likely cause’ of his behaviour was ‘significant drugs use’ of amphetamine and cannabis.

He added: “It is only a matter really of good fortune that [your housemate] acted in such a responsible and brave manner.

“The fire had began to spread and if the authorities had not been contacted the fire could have destroyed that address and spread to the next door address.”

A picture of Stroinski will added to this story as soon As Sussex Police make one available.