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Home   Medway   News   Article

Gillingham man John Burke trapped after arsonist Scott O'Rourke starts blaze in flat below

17 January 2014
by Keith Hunt

An arsonist who put a neighbour's life at risk when he set light to his own flat has been jailed for four years.

John Burke became trapped after Scott O'Rourke started the blaze in the flat below in Canterbury Street, Gillingham.

Mr Burke went to the back of his home to escape the smoke, but firefighters could not reach him and he had to return to the smoke-filled room to be rescued.

Arsonist Scott O'Rourke has been jailed for four years

Arsonist Scott O'Rourke has been jailed for four years

O'Rourke, who suffers from mental and behavioural disorders because of drug-taking, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Maidstone Crown Court heard there was damage to the flat's structure and furnishings on August 24 last year.

Judge Michael Carroll

Judge Michael Carroll

Judge Michael Carroll said O'Rourke, 37, clearly understood what he was doing because he threatened to burn his accommodation if he did not get what he wanted.

"That is what you did the following day," he said. "This is a case of some seriousness.

"Mr Burke clearly felt at risk. It must have been an extremely frightening experience for him."

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