Stephen Sheen, 49, jailed for 'pathetic' sock arson attempt
SETTING alight a sock stuffed with tissues was an "incompetent" act of revenge by Stephen Sheen to set his former partner's flat on fire.
Gloucester Crown Court heard Sheen was drunk and had taken cocaine when he carried out the attempted arson and recklessly endangered life.
The court heard the 49-year-old knew his ex-girlfriend and her daughter were not in the Cinderford High Street flat when he tried to start the fire.
However, he did not know whether neighbours in the other two flats, including a 72-year-old, were at home.
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Prosecutor Kirsty Real, said Sheen, of Foundry Road, was seen at the foot of a ladder propped up against the building at 3.45am by police on August 19.
She said he ran off and officers found the flat's bedroom window was open.
Police found a child's sock filled with tissues had been put through the window. Another sock was found singed by the ladder and the defendant's fingerprint was found on one of the socks.
The court heard the pair had a row earlier that day and he had driven off and left her near Ross-On-Wye.
Defending, Andrew Hobson said it was a pathetic attempt at starting a fire.
He said: "I think it is fair to say that there is evidence of pre-meditation and planning, but also evidence of stupidity. It was almost certainly not going to set fire to the property.
"He accepts that what he did was completely unjustified."
Judge Jamie Tabor QC sentenced Sheen to 30 months in prison.
He said: "It is really only because of a lack of your own incompetence that meant this flat did not catch fire.
"You have a problem coping with the breakdown of a relationship and you need help with that I agree and I hope you get that inside."
Sheen was given a restraining order and is not to contact his ex-partner or her daughter directly or indirectly.
He must also stay 100 metres away from the High Street flat.