Bideford man set fire to flat after row with social workers
A judge has ordered psychiatric reports on a Bideford man who barricaded himself in a flat and set light to it after a row with social workers.
Adam Peard was so angry after told that his child was likely to be taken into care when it was born that he threatened to harm himself and then set light to the curtains.
Police and firefighters were unable to reach the blaze because he had piled a sofa and fridge freezer against the door and the blaze was at risk of spreading until Peard threw the burning curtains out of the window.
Peard, who comes from Bideford, was living in Exeter
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where he became aggressive and disturbed after a meeting with social workers.
He had already been arrested once for climbing onto the roofs of garages and threatening to cut his arms and police were called to his flat in Newtown
Close, Exeter, as a result of disturbing phone calls he made to his partner Belinda Hutchings's family.
Peard, formerly of Stucley Road, Bideford, denied arson being reckless whether life was endangered but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.
He was cleared of a second charge of making a threatening phone call.
During the three day case the jury heard how a special police unit had been called to break into the flat and demolished the front door before arresting Peard in an attic space where he had taken refuge.
He said he had only been trying to harm himself and had removed any danger by throwing the curtains out
of the window before the fire had any chance of spreading.
The prosecution said other tenants were living in flats below and either side and could have been injured or killed if the fire had spread.
Recorder Mr Nicolas Gerasimidis remanded Peard in custody and told him:"I feel uncomfortable about
sentencing this case without a psychiatric report. It will come back to me when the appropriate report is ready."
As Peard was led away he shouted: "How can I appeal against this. I want bail."