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Man jailed after botched suicide attempt

Arron David Cooper set his own house on fire but put others in danger

Arsonist Arron David Cooper from Mortimer Street in Cleckheaton who has been jailed for 3 years

A man has been jailed after setting fire to his terraced home having sent his mother a goodbye text.

Leeds Crown Court heard 33-year-old Arron David Cooper was rescued after neighbours rang the emergency services.

Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, told the court today it was about 10.20pm on June 30 when a man heard an alarm and thought it was a dentist’s property being burgled at the end of Mortimer Street in Cleckheaton.

He alerted the police but meanwhile his wife had smelled smoke upstairs and was concerned for their two children. They went out the back of the property and could see smoke from Cooper’s home.

Another neighbour had also realised there was a fire and had phoned the fire brigade. Both men then went to check on Cooper.

They found the door unlocked and could see him lying prone at the top of the stairs. They were about to try and help him when police officers arrived and took over.

They found Cooper with a knife lying close to him. He was confused, very drunk and had taken some cocaine. The fire brigade were able to put out two seats of fire and Cooper was arrested.

Miss Pearson said Cooper had sent his mother a text message saying goodbye and also a message to his employer saying he would not be in to work the next day but had retired.

Reports indicated he was suffering from alcohol and drug problems at the time as well as depression and a low mood but did not amount to a mental health disorder.

Mortimer Street, Cleckheaton [via Google Street View]

Rachel Smith, representing Cooper, said he had very little recollection of events.

She added: “He was under the influence of drugs and in drink at the time of the offence.”

She said officers also found a knife lying next to him in the house.

“The inference being he was attempting to take his own life,” she said.

He understood he was facing imprisonment.

Cooper admitted arson being reckless whether lives were endangered and was jailed for three and a half years.

Judge Rodney Jameson QC told him: “You appear to have drifted into a degree of depression but psychiatric reports on you indicate you were not significantly mentally ill.”

“This appears to be an act of considerable selfishness largely triggered by voluntary consumption of drugs and alcohol which is not a mitigation of any kind, rather the reverse.”

He said Cooper had put the lives of others living in nearby houses at risk, including those of two young children.

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