A 16-YEAR-OLD boy has been locked up for three years after a court heard how he carried out an arson attack on his former school.
Bradford Crown Court was told that Dennis Heald held a grudge against Rawthorpe High School because he had been excluded when he was wrongly suspected of starting fires.
In November last year Heald and a 14-year-old boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, climbed into the school grounds and smashed their way inside before using petrol bombs, made out of milk bottles, to start the blaze.
Prosecutor Edward Bindloss told Judge Peter Benson that most of the damage was caused by smoke rather than fire and the cost was put at £30,000.
Specialist cleaners had to be called in and four classrooms were put out of operation.
"A number of pupils were upset and there was disruption to the smooth running of the school in other areas as well," added Mr Bindloss.
The two teenagers were arrested after police spotted them running away from the scene and they admitted buying the petrol and milk bottles in the days leading up to the attack.
Heald, of Bradley Mills Lane, Leeds Road, Huddersfield, told officers that he had a grievance against the school after being wrongly accused.
Heald and his co-accused, who is now aged 15, pleaded guilty to the charge of arson last month and their cases were adjourned until yesterday for various reports to be prepared.
Barrister Sukhbir Bassra, for Heald, explained that even though his client was never prosecuted for the previous fires he was excluded from Rawthorpe and any other school.
"He felt he had been robbed of something worthwhile which could never be replaced," he added.
The younger boy's barrister Catherine Robinson described him as vulnerable and immature and urged the judge to consider a non-custodial sentence in his case.
But Judge Benson told both boys that it was a serious offence and even taking into account the younger boy's age he would have to be made the subject of a detention and training order for 18 months.
Judge Benson told Heald that he may not have been responsible for the earlier incidents, but he had harboured a grudge and had decided to take revenge in a pre-planned and premeditated attack.
"As a result of that £30,000 worth of damage was done and in addition there was a great deal of disruption to the school regime," he added.
Judge Benson noted that a psychiatric report suggested Heald posed a significant risk for the foreseeable future and said there had to be a significant custodial sentence for what was a very serious offence.