A paranoid schizophrenic who launched an ‘unprovoked’ arson attack on a family home has been detained under the Mental Health Act.
Mohammed Sajid Hussain used an axe to smash the rear of a house on Lodge Street in Accrington before throwing a plastic petrol can and a lit piece of paper inside.
Burnley Crown Court heard Philip Kenrick was asleep in the property with his partner and a young child and were woken by a ‘loud smash’.
Hussain, 35, of Whalley Road, Accrington, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.
Judge Sara Dodd said it was a ‘completely random’ attack, as neither Hussain nor the occupants were known to each other, and issued a hospital order under the Menthal Health Act.
Isobel Thomas, prosecuting, told the court how the incident happened at around 7.30am on August 30, 2015.
When Mr Kenrick went downstairs he saw the rear kitchen window had been smashed and found a plastic petrol can on the floor with a lit piece of paper next to it.
Ms Thomas said he quickly poured a pan of water over the flames before calling the emergency services.
When police arrived they found a long-handled axe, two further paper tapers which smelled of accelerate and carrier bags.
A glove was found by another officer in the middle of Windsor Street and was later found to contain Hussain’s DNA.
The court heard how fibres from the gloves were also found on the axe handle and the other glove was recovered from Hussain’s home.
In a victim impact statement read out at court, Mr Kenrick said he ‘no longer wanted to live at the property’ and ‘felt unsafe in his home address’.
Ms Thomas said it was an ‘unprovoked attack’ and put strain on Mr Kenrick’s relationship with his partner.
Judge Dodd the ‘consequences could have been devastating’ but ‘mercifully they were very limited’.
Sentencing, she said: “For reasons which I don’t understand, and I suspect you don’t understand, you tried to set fire to a home.
“No-one knows why you offended like this.
“The impact upon Mr Kenrick has been clearly set out before me.
“You made him feel unsafe in his home.
“I’m satisfied it is appropriate to make an order under the Mental Health Act.”
Defence barrister Alexander Rostron said Mohammed Hussain was suffering from mental health problems at the time of the incident.
The court heard how he remanded into custody after pleading guilty to the offence and it then ‘became apparent’ that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
Medical reports submitted to the court said the offences were ‘borne of his mental illness’ and that he is ‘compliant with treatment and medication’.
Mr Rostron told the court that Hussain had no previous convictions and was in employment at the time. He said: “At the time there was clearly some paranoia about individuals that live near him and work with him.
“This is a man who managed to hold down a job for many years and didn’t come to the attention of the courts, the authorities or medical care professionals. He didn’t know the address, he didn’t know the complainant, and really I can’t offer any insight into the offence itself.”
The court heard how Hussain initially denied the offences when he was twice interviewed by police in 2015 and 2016.