A MAN who tried to take his own life by starting a fire in a Mickle Trafford hotel has pleaded guilty to arson.
Stephen Hill, 41, of Beeston View, Handbridge, tried to commit suicide through smoke inhalation in the room of a Travelodge branch on March 26, Chester Crown Court heard.
Prosecuting, Jo Maxwell said Hill had booked into the 36-room hotel where about 30 other guests were staying that night, with the intention of taking his own life.
However, at the last minute he had changed his mind and extinguished the fire.
But when he opened the doors and a window to let the smoke out, it had set off the alarms.
The hotel’s night porter, Andrew Thompson, saw Hill leave his room. Fire and police teams were called and when police officers spotted Hill walking on a nearby street, he said: “It’s me you’re looking for.”
An investigation by the fire service revealed the fire was not going to be dangerous for anyone else in the Travelodge, only for the defendant.
Richard Thomas, defending, said Hill had had ‘an extremely difficult 12 months’ with the loss of his mother, job and the end of his relationship with his partner, meaning he did not have much contact with his 17-year-old son.
Since that ‘low ebb’, Hill had received psychiatric help during his 117 days in custody and was now feeling more ‘upbeat’ about life.
Judge Roger Dutton, handing Hill a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, said: “These were unique circumstances far removed from the ‘usual cases’ of arson.”
Hill will also be supervised by the probation service for two years and must carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work.