Jail for Scunthorpe man who torched home while his dad with dementia was inside
A MAN set fire to a petrol-soaked caravan home while his father, who suffers from dementia, was inside.
Arsonist Mark Priday watched on impassively as the blaze broke out on a Scunthorpe caravan site, a court heard.
His ex-partner Albertina Storrs was on the toilet at the time – and escaped by jumping from a toilet window.
Only the quick response of neighbours led to the rescue of the father.
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Grimsby Crown Court heard that after starting the fire, Priday looked "as cool as anything" as he watched the blazing caravan containing his 70-year-old father, Arnold Priday.
The damage to neighbouring caravans was estimated at a total of nearly £20,000.
The rescue drama came just seconds before the caravan at Main Avenue, Ashfield Park, Scunthorpe, exploded in a fireball.
But it was revealed in court that the father – now 71 – did not insure the caravan and he now lives in sheltered accommodation.
Priday, 41, formerly of Main Avenue, Ashfield Park, was jailed for five years after he admitted arson and recklessly endangering life.
The fire was lit shortly after 9.30pm on Thursday, July 19.
Judge Mark Bury told Priday: "This must have been a truly frightening experience for Miss Storrs and your father."
Prosecutor Charlotte Baines told how Miss Storrs became alarmed by some of the text messages she received from Priday on the day of the incident and returned to the caravan.
The text referred to him feeling depressed and having had enough of his father, the prosecutor said.
In a discussion in the caravan, Priday told her: "I would not be here if I were you."
She went to the toilet and, as she was seated, she saw petrol flowing across the floor to her feet. Suddenly it ignited and flames three feet high engulfed the toilet, the court heard, and she was forced to leap from the small window to safety.
Miss Baines told how "cool" Priday looked and spoke of how "badly done to" he felt because of his father.
Neighbours Raymond Fletcher and Steven Gray raced to rescue Mr Priday senior and smashed the glass to the door of the caravan and hauled him to safety.
Miss Baines said it took fire crews an hour to put the fire out.
In interview with police, the son Priday said he thought his father was out at the time.
He said he had poured petrol over himself and said he had been suffering from depression.
Graham Pressler, in mitigation, said his client had been suffering from depression. He said: "He lacks the ability to work out the consequences of his actions."
Mr Pressler said his client regretted what he had done.
After the hearing, Catherine Ainsworth, head of the CPS Crown Court Unit, said after the case: "It was fortunate that one of the occupants of the caravan was able to get out before the fire took hold and his father was rescued without serious injury."
A spokesman for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said: "Committing arson is a crime and we will continue to work with Humberside Police to gather and share information relating to arson. This work can play a fundamental role in securing arson convictions."