'It could have been disastrous': Reckless drunk man almost torched house where his three children slept

A drunken delivery driver who almost set fire to a property where his children slept has been spared custody.

By Nick Frame
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 8:09 am
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 8:12 am

Ryan Spendlove got into a heated argument with his family and set fire to a plant pot underneath the window of the house after storming out.

It was only when the occupants detected the smell of burning that they were able to extinguish the flames, prosecutor Carmel Pearson told Leeds Crown Court.

Spendlove, 28, admitted arson that was reckless as to whether life was endangered.

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Cambridge Street, South Elmsall.

Ms Pearson said that Spendlove was at his mother and her partner's home on Cambridge Street, South Elmsall, on the evening of November 19 last year.

His three young children were upstairs asleep, and the adults were drinking downstairs.

The mother of the children then turned up, and she had been drinking also.

There was a disagreement and Spendlove left the house saying he was being targeted by the others.

When outside the front door, he inexplicably took his hooded top off, set fire to it and threw it into the plant pot underneath the front window.

He then left in a taxi.

A short time later the occupants all said they could smell burning, and when they went outside, found the plant pot melting in the flames. They used buckets of water to put the fire out.

The next day, Spendlove admitted his actions to the family and called the police himself.

Mitigating, Satpal Roth-Sharma said that Spendlove, an agency delivery driver for Hermes, had no previous convictions and described the incident as an "impaired moment of thinking".

She said: "The consequences could have been far worse than they were and he is fully aware of that.

"He was heavily intoxicated and posed a huge risk to others. His behaviour was reckless. He is quite ashamed of his actions but can't turn back the clock."

Judge Simon Phillips QC said: "You had the good sense to phone the police.

"It was a reckless act and a highly-dangerous act.

"Your actions could have resulted in disastrous consequences for the occupants of that house."

Spendlove, of no fixed address, was given 10 months' jail, suspended for 18 months.

He was also given 100 hours of unpaid work.