England

Leicester arsonist set fire to men in pub garden

Mitchell Dean
Image caption The court heard Mitchell Dean had once set fire to a goose

A man who set fire to three men, two in a pub garden, has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Mitchell Dean, 22, from Laindon, Essex, torched the two men who were drinking in the garden of the Rainbow and Dove pub, in Leicester, in October 2011.

A week earlier he had doused a friend in petrol and threw a match at him, Basildon Crown Court heard.

Dean was detained indefinitely after pleading guilty to arson and three charges of grievous bodily harm.

Sentencing Dean at Basildon Crown Court, Judge David Owen-Jones said: "The physical and psychological effects on these three young men are agonising.

"Their lives have been shattered at a very young age.

"They're three young lads who had so much to look forward to in life."

'Friend resisted kiss'

Dean had known 20-year-old David Chaplin for three years when he set fire to him in the early hours of 19 October 2011.

The court heard they shared 15 beers at Mr Chaplin's flat in Basildon and Dean attempted to kiss his friend on the cheek.

Mr Chaplin resisted, saying he "didn't feel that way", the court heard.

Dean then doused his friend with petrol, threw a match at him and fled the scene, leaving him on fire.

Mr Chaplin had 25-27% burns predominantly on his head, face and hands, had his finger tips amputated and was permanently scarred.

Russell Banks, 21 at the time, and Robert Laszewski, who was 20, were drinking together at the Rainbow and Dove on 25 October when Dean threw an accelerant at them, believed to be petrol.

Horses threatened

Both were engulfed in flames and CCTV recorded Dean leaving the scene with his jacket on fire.

Mr Banks suffered 32% burns to his body, and has permanent scarring on his head, face, hands and neck while Mr Laszewski was burnt on his arms and face.

Barry Chaplin, whose son David was going to start work as a carpenter before he was attacked, said his son is no longer able to work.

The court heard Dean had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for three years before he was diagnosed and was obsessed with fire.

He would set fires in open spaces, once set fire to a goose, and threatened to set fire to horses in a field until Mr Chaplin stopped him.

Cyrus Shroff, defending, said: "He seems now to have finally accepted that he has an illness that has caused him to behave this way.

"He has experienced genuine remorse."

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