Case Study 29: Arson



 Background to Case: 

This case is a self referral by the offender who is 33yrs of age. He has received a sentence of 3 years 9 months.

The background for the case is in 2015 the offender was living in shared accommodation. He was under the influence of drugs and wanted some money to purchase more drugs. He went into the cellar and because the light was on a timer he used a candle to light the cellar. He cut into a copper pipe believing it to be a water pipe, but it was a gas pipe. The candle ignited the gas and threw a flame approximately six feet long near the ceiling of the cellar.

The offender left the cellar and managed to alert the other tenants in the property about the fire. The tenants left the property but the offender went into the bathroom. He tried to get out of the bathroom but the handle broke so he had to wait for the fire service to break down the door.


The victim Mr B is the landlord for the property. The total damage to the property was £17,000. This caused financial lose to the landlord and the property was not in a habitable state for a number of months.

The victim was angry that the fire had happened and that somebody may have been injured or died. He was also annoyed about the disturbance it caused to the other tenants who he had to try and accommodate. He was not happy with the financial implications involved and the inconvenience of claiming on the insurance for the property.


The offender, Mr A, was sorry for what he had done and that someone may have been injured. He referred himself for restorative justice hoping to see the victim and apologise and try to answer any questions the victim may have.

The Process:

Both Mr B and Mr A were visited and agreed to a direct restorative process which took place in prison.

Mr B said how the incident had affected him both personally and financially. He said how it had taken a long time to get the property repaired and this would mean his earnings had been reduced. He also wanted to know why the offender had used a candle see and then cut through a gas pipe.

Mr A gave some background to his life and how he had become involved with drugs. He then gave a full account of the day, the incident happened, and explained he was under the influence of drugs when he cut the pipe which he thought was a water pipe. He said he was trying to steal the copper piping for money to purchase drugs and that he was also trying to get back to his family.

Mr A said how sorry he was and all the trouble he had caused to Mr B. Mr B said he wished Mr A all the best for the future and hopes that when he leaves prison he will be able to move on and not re offend. He also said he doesn’t hold anything against him.

Mr A said he found this very humbling and thanked Mr B. The meeting ended with both men shaking hands and Mr A saying that if Mr B could think of any way he could help him he would.