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Totton man Shane McCarthy jailed at Southampton Crown Court for 'alcohol-fuelled arson revenge attack'

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AN arsonist who launched an "alcohol-fuelled revenge attack" has been jailed for nearly three years.

Shane McCarthy (27), from Totton, caused a blaze by holding a cushion above a kitchen hob while two other men he lived with hid in their rooms, Southampton Crown Court heard.

Shane McCarthy (56436274)
Shane McCarthy (56436274)

Firefighters were called and when police also arrived on the scene McCarthy threatened one of the men in front of officers, prosecutor Christopher Wing said.

The blaze caused £1,500 of damage and fortunately neither of the other two men were injured, Mr Wing continued.

Mr Wing explained that prior to the incident in the early hours of 7th January, the defendant had got into a dispute with the other men which involved a broken television at a property where McCarthy had been living in Southampton.

The defendant, whose criminal history included eight convictions for 16 offences such as battery, pleaded guilty to one count of arson with recklessness as to whether life was endangered.

Defence barrister Mark Florida-James said his client was someone who had suffered "significant trauma" in his childhood which had manifested itself as an alcohol problem.

When McCarthy drank he made impulsive "foolish" decisions without thinking of the consequences, he said, pointing out that he had drunk a "considerable quantity" of alcohol before the fire.

McCarthy was "very grateful" the incident did not progress to something more serious, Mr Florida-James said. He also highlighted positive character references that said McCarthy was a good father to his children.

Judge Nicholas Rowland said the incident was down to a "grudge" the defendant had held, describing it as an "alcohol-fuelled revenge attack".

The defendant was warned he could get a minimum four years for the offence, but the judge said taking all circumstances into account he imposed a shorter term of two years and nine months.

The announcement prompted a jubilant reaction from a member of the public, who shouted: "We will f***ing have a bit of that, son."

As other supporters followed him out the man could be heard celebrating while the court doors closed.

Mr Florida-James told the judge he would speak to the man in question to warn him about court conduct, but the judge replied: "It's a bit late now, isn't it?"

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