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Man jailed after setting fire to his Margate flat

A disabled man jailed for killing a groom-to-be in a drink drive crash is back behind bars 19 years on after torching his Margate flat in a botched suicide bid.

Allen Shord had knocked back strong cider when he ploughed his motorbike into 32-year-old Robin Bull in the summer of 2000.

Mr Bull - who was taking an evening stroll with his fiancee - died the next day, while Shord was seriously injured, spending two years in hospital after suffering brain damage.

Crews at the scene of the fire in April last year Picture: Abbie Small (14972197)
Crews at the scene of the fire in April last year Picture: Abbie Small (14972197)

He was jailed for three-and-a-half years for causing death by dangerous driving while under the influence.

And on Wednesday he was back behind bars, receiving the exact same sentence after setting fire to a sofa at his home in Appledore Close.

Canterbury Crown Court heard the three-storey block became uninhabitable after Shord started the blaze in his adapted ground floor flat.

He was heard to shout for help, but resisted neighbours who came to his rescue.

Maidstone Crown Court (14452212)
Maidstone Crown Court (14452212)

As emergency workers arrived he told them: “No, leave me, leave me - I want to die. Please let me die.”

The 52-year-old alcoholic was carried to safety, and later arrested.

He denied reckless arson and endangering the lives of other residents, but was convicted by a jury following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

The jury was told how a neighbour heard Shord shouting at about 9.20pm on April 3 last year so called out and asked if he was OK.

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

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.

Judge Adele Williams (13999351)
Judge Adele Williams (13999351)

Judge Adele Williams was told how Shord had been left disabled following the motorbike crash in Essex, in which 19-year-old Natalie Coleman - who went on to win Masterchef in 2013 - was riding pillion.

Shord had since turned to alcohol and drugs and become depressed, his barrister said.

Judge Williams told Shord he had endangered the lives of families living in the flats. The fire damage cost Thanet District Council £21,380 in repairs.

Were you affected by the fire? Email thanetextra@thekmgroup.co.uk.

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