Abertillery arsonist has prison term reduced
8:01am Monday 23rd June 2014 in Gwent news
AN ABERTILLERY man who tried to kill himself in a house fire, putting the lives of a family next door at risk, has had his prison sentence slashed on appeal.
Mathew Jay Hayman, 27, of Princess Street, set fire to clothes in his bathroom after failing in a bid to gas himself with a cooker - because he had not paid his bill.
Firefighters were called and put out the flames, but Hayman was arrested and jailed at Newport Crown Court in January for reckless arson and breaching two community orders.
Last week, he appealed against his three years and ten months sentence and saw it slashed to three years by three of the country's top judges.
Lady Justice Macur, who heard the appeal with Mrs Justice Nicola Davies and Judge Nicholas Cooke QC, said the original term was "excessive".
The court heard Hayman had had an argument with his partner in October last year and demanded that she pack her bags.
He went to speak to her later that night, but was told to go away and became upset.
In a phone call, he told his father he knew he was a disappointment to the family and that he would be better off dead.
But when he let slip that he had already lit a fire downstairs, Hayman's dad sprung into action and drove to his son's home.
It was already filling with smoke when he arrived and firefighters were called.
Hayman said he had not intended for anyone to be hurt but himself.
He had been "wallowing in self-misery", said the appeal judge, but was still guilty of a criminal offence, whatever his intentions.
"The criminality is that there was danger to others," she continued. "Smoke kills."
Appealing, lawyers for Hayman argued that the fact he had not used an accelerant and that he had warned his dad about the fire were mitigating features.
Giving judgment, Lady Justice Macur cut the overall sentence to three years.
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