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Allen Shord convicted of arson

A severely disabled man is facing sentence after putting the lives of others in danger when he set fire to his flat in an attempt to kill himself.

Wheelchair-bound Allen Shord pleaded with rescuers to leave him in his smoke-filled home in Appledore Close, Margate.

After he was pulled to safety, a police officer asked if he was all right and he replied: "No, let me die".

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Stock image

The 52-year-old alcoholic later claimed he had not started the blaze, but he was convicted of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Shord, who was left disabled after a road traffic accident in 2000, had lived alone in the ground floor purpose built flat in a block of nine for six years.

His neighbour heard him shouting “Ah, ah” at about 9.20pm on April 3 this year. She called out and asked if he was alright.

She went to his flat and saw his sofa in the living room was ablaze. She tried to move his wheelchair to safety, but he said: “No, no, leave me.”

Prosecutor Bridget Todd said another resident took Shord out and the neighbour went to her flat to call the fire service.

Other residents were advised to stay indoors because the smoke was so thick.

Shord told a police officer: “I want to die. Please let me die.”

"The prosecution say he was reckless as to whether others would be endangered when he set fire to his flat" - Bridget Todd

As a result, he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He was released the next day.

A fire investigator saw there was a can of lighter fuel on the burnt sofa. The flat, owned by East Kent Housing Association, was found to be uninhabitable with £21,000 worth of damage caused.

Miss Todd said Shord had become alcohol-dependent and on occasions his neighbour had seen him in his wheelchair in the communal area in just his underwear.

She was also aware his behaviour became worse when his son visited him.

When asked if he knew how the fire was started, Shord replied: “Unsure.”

He gave the same answer when asked if anybody else had started it. Asked why, he replied: “Brain injury.”

“He knew others lived in the flats,” said Miss Todd.

“The prosecution say he was reckless as to whether others would be endangered when he set fire to his flat.”

Sentence was adjourned until December 10 for a psychiatric report.

Shord is being detained at the Trevor Gibbens Unit at Maidstone Hospital.

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