A Leamington man set fire to the kitchen of his shared home by trying to make a bomb using aerosol cans and a microwave oven while his housemate was asleep upstairs.
But George Moore then knocked on the other man’s door before calling the emergency services himself to tell them what he had done, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has heard.
Moore (24) of Cubbington Road, Lillington, was jailed for three-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to arson being reckless whether life was endangered and possessing a bladed article.
Prosecutor Jonathan Barker said that at 10.15pm on May 5, Moore made a 999 call and revealed he had been trying to make a bomb and that there was a fire at his home.
He said his housemate was still in the address, and when a fire crew attended they found a fire in the kitchen which they extinguished.
There was a microwave oven in the garden, connected to a socket in the kitchen, with burned firelighters in it.
But the fire had been started by a second microwave oven in the kitchen, in which Moore had put aerosol cans and a metal colander before switching it on.
Moore, who was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol, and was found to have a lock knife on him, admitted starting the fire but said he had not intended to harm anyone.
A Snapchat video was found of him putting the aerosol cans in the microwave, with the caption ‘building a baby bomb,’ and saying: “I hope it’ll explode soon or I’ll be disappointed.”
Still recording, he left the kitchen and shut the door, and when he opened it again, the fire could be seen.
His housemate said he had gone to bed at about 9pm and had watched television before going to sleep – but was woken by Moore running around and a fire alarm going off.
He said Moore knocked on his door, but did not say anything to warn him, and he could smell burning, so had put his dressing-gown on and gone outside.
Mr Barker added that a fire investigator established that the aerosol cans in the microwave oven had created an explosion which started the fire.
Graham Henson, defending, said: “The difficulty is he’s got mental health problems. He received very little contact from mental health services, which was exacerbated by the pandemic.
“To an extent he’s been let down by the system, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. But he seems to be doing well in prison, perhaps because he has the structured environment he yearned for.”
Sentencing Moore, Recorder Robin Sellers told him: “You placed aerosol cans and metal articles in a microwave over in accommodation provided by the Plato Trust, and this caused a fire from a small explosion.
“You shared that house with another individual... and you knew he was around.
“You called 999 and calmly reported that you had been trying to make a bomb, and that your companion may also have been in the premises. I accept you also knocked on his door, but you did not tell him what you had done.
“It is particularly aggravating that you were hoping to cause an explosion, and that this was in a domestic context.
"You suffered a head injury as a teenager and you have been diagnosed as having seizures, and are on the autistic spectrum, and you have potentially not received the assistance you could have done.”
After the court case, Detective Sergeant Jen Baker from Leamington CID said: “This was a reckless act that caused substantial damage to the house in which Moore lived.
"His behaviour was quite clearly dangerous and his actions on the night could easily have resulted in more serious harm being caused.
"We are fortunate that no-one was injured in the incident.”