Pensioner is jailed for setting fire to his flat to ‘get back’ at housing association landlord

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A man who set fire to his flat in a rage at his housing association landlord has been jailed for two years.

Bryan Palmer, 69, set his duvet alight causing the block of flats run by the Pilgrims Housing Association to be evacuated.

He told a firefighter, who attended the blaze at Richbell Court, in Queen Street, he was fed up with Pilgrims and wanted to get them back.

When another resident told him his flat was on fire, he replied “Good”, Luton crown court heard on Tuesday (August 25).

Palmer, who timed the police arrival at the scene as nine minutes from when the alarm was raised, said he was going to throw himself in the river.

Prosecutor Timothy Naik said Palmer started the fire on Thursday, December 4, last year, at 11 o’clock at night.

He was upset that he had been moved out of his flat a few days earlier, thinking it was a ruse to get him out permanently.

His first floor flat was damaged and there was smoke damage to other parts of the 13-storey tower block.

Palmer, of Aelfric Court, Bedford, pleaded guilty to arson, being reckless as to whether life is endangered. He appeared in court via a link from Bedford Prison.

Philip Sutton, defending, said Palmer suffered cardiac problems and has twice been to hospital since being remanded in custody. He had a heart defibrillator fitted.

He asked for a suspended sentence to be passed saying: “He is on the hospital wing in Bedford prison. He has serious medical problems. At the time he was a man in turmoil.”

But Judge Michael Kay QC jailed him for two years, saying he could not suspend the sentence because the offence was so serious.