Tyne & Wear

Boden Hughes jailed for DFDS ferry arson

Boden George Hughes, right
Image caption Boden Hughes, right, threw a lighter onto a pile of clothes, setting them alight

A man who started a fire on a North Sea ferry which resulted in six people being airlifted to safety has been jailed for 11 years.

Boden George Hughes was drunk and smoking cannabis when he set fire to a pile of clothes, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Hughes, 26, of Fulwell Road, Sunderland was on the DFDS ferry sailing from North Shields to Amsterdam in December.

Judge James Goss said his action was a "spectacular piece of recklessness".

"Panic was caused, passengers were injured and £800,000 losses were caused to the operator," he said.

'Extremely sorry'

Image copyright Maurice Dekker
Image caption Passenger photos showed the extent of the damage to cabins

The ferry, which had 946 passengers and 127 crew on board, was 30 miles north east of Flamborough Head, near Bridlington, when it was diverted back to the terminal.

Six people had to be winched to safety, including a pregnant woman, and 27 required treatment for smoke inhalation, the court was told.

Hughes had admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and affray, after failing in an attempt to argue the court had no jurisdiction in his case because the incident took place at sea.

He received a nine year sentence for the ferry fire and two years for a separate conviction for conspiring to steal railway cable.

Christopher Morrison, defending, said Hughes was "extremely sorry, especially to those who were airlifted" as well as to the ferry company and crew.

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