A man who set fire to his bedsit on the day he was due to be evicted was jailed for 20 months yesterday.
Christopher Harris, 39, previously admitted on indictment that he wilfully set fire to 75a High Street, Grantown-on-Spey, on December 17 by igniting a pile of newspapers placed on the floor within the cupboard housing the electrical supply, then placed books and papers on the electric cooker and turned this on, damaging the property endangering other occupants of other properties within the building.
Sentence was deferred at Inverness Sheriff Court until yesterday for a background report.
Defence lawyer Neil Wilson said his client, who is 39 and an Inverness prisoner, had mental health issues and accepted a jail sentence was inevitable.
He added: “He accepts what he did was wrong. He is aware of his psychological difficulties and that they can’t be sorted.”
Last month fiscal Roderick Urquhart told Sheriff David Sutherland that Harris occupied the first floor local authority bedsit in an old town house that had been split into 5 or 6 separate bedsits and small flats.
“It would appear that he led a solitary lifestyle, living by himself, not working and keeping himself to himself. He was not in receipt of state benefits.
“A day or so before the offence he received a letter stating he was getting evicted from Thursday 17th December 2015. At about 7.30 a.m. on that day he piled up paper and newspapers in various places in the flat and on the electric hob before turning all four rings on full.
“He then lit the pile of papers in the corner of his bedsitting room and left because the smoke began to affect his breathing.
“He locked the door behind him, left the keys in the lock and pinned a letter to the housing manager to the door.”
Mr Urquhart said a passer by raised the alarm about 11.20am and firefighters arrived at the address a short time later.