Peterborough man who set fire to his own flat in Werrington and claimed arson is detained

Luke Rees at his flat in Werrington destroyed by fire EMN-141216-162458009

Luke Rees at his flat in Werrington destroyed by fire EMN-141216-162458009

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A man who set fire to his own flat and claimed he had been the victim of an arson attack has been detained in hospital to protect the public.

Luke Rees (26) started the fire at his flat in Somerville, Werrington on December 13 last year.

He also admitted setting a fire at South View, Woodston, the night before.

Rees appeared at Peterborough Crown Court on Monday, where Judge Sean Enright imposed a Section 41 hospital and restriction order.

He said: “A hospital order is entirely appropriate and a restriction order is necessary to protect the public from harm.”

Rees had been warned he faced prison before psychiatric reports were carried out looking at his background.

The fire at Rees’ ground floor flat started at about 6.55pm.

No-one was hurt in the blaze, but much of Rees’ property was destroyed by smoke and flames.

Rees himself contacted the Peterborough Telegraph following the fire, claiming it had been started by others while he had been at the shops.

He posed for photographs in the flat, saying he had been made homeless by the fire.

But police soon arrested him in connection with the blaze, and another the night before at a house in South View, Woodston. Fire crews were called at 9.45pm to the fire which was started in the ground floor of the property.

No-one was injured in either of the two arsons.

Rees pleaded guilty to one count of arson, relating to the Woodston fire, and one count of arson reckless as to whether life was endangered relating to the Werrington blaze.

The court heard from psychiatrist Dr Alan Smith, who said: “A restriction requirement is necessary to protect the public.

“He has a serious mental health disorder, which has a continuing risk of fire setting.”

He added: “His risk can be safely managed in hospital.”

Rees was joined in the dock by members of mental health staff for support.

The court was told he does not have any previous convictions for arson.

Bennedict Peers, defending, said: “The fires were set in the context of the underlying mental health disorder.

“He has no previous convictions for arson.

“There was a lack of sophistication, a lack of intent and no campaign to harm anyone through the use of fire.”