Homeless arsonist jailed for torching Westgate nightclub and causing £100,000 worth of damage
A homeless man who set fire to a Wakefield nightclub and caused £100,000 worth of damage has been locked up.
Ten fire crews were needed to being the blaze under control at After Dark on Westgate after Glen Liversidge started a fire in a bin storage area underneath the ground floor, Leeds Crown Court.
Prosecutor Ian Mullarkey said that crews were called to the venue at around 5.40pm on March 29 last year and found that the flames had spread to the ground floor through the ceiling of the storage area.
The building suffered extensive fire, smoke and water damage, with the repair bill exceeding six figures.
Luckily, nobody was in the building at the time.
An investigation found the the fire had been deliberately started, and the seat of the blaze was on or next to an old sofa in the storage area.
CCTV was reviewed and 33-year-old Liversidge was spotted entering the site around that time, before leaving. Smoke was then seen pouring from the area.
He was arrested two days later and interviewed. Although he accepted it was him on the footage, he denied any responsibility for starting the fire.
During an appearance at the magistrates' court he admitted a charge of arson by being reckless as to whether such property would be destroyed or damaged.
The court was told he had a long list of previous convictions, including burglary and thefts that he committed after the arson for which he was given a total of 11 months' jail.
Mitigating for Liversidge, Stephen Swan told the court that his client had been homeless at the time and was using the bin storage area as somewhere to sleep.
He said: "He was using the sofa and sheets of cardboard to stay warm. The room was pitch black and he accepts using candles to light his way.
"He has no specific recollection of the event around the fire but we can conclude from his lifestyle what has occurred with the amount of debris around a naked flame.
"He accepts he caused the fire."
He said Liversidge, who appeared in the court via video link from HMP Leeds, had left school at 15 and had dyslexia and learning difficulties.
Judge Tom Bayliss QC jailed him for 18 months and said: "Whether you deliberately set fire to that sofa or not, you must have known it was alight.
"You knew quite sure what you were doing when you left. You were, in the very least, reckless and significant damage was caused."