A FAMILY’S turmoil continues after the brother of a former rugby player found with life-changing injuries has been jailed after he tried to kill himself by cutting a gas pipe.

Dwain Bessant – the brother of Scott Bessant, who has been in a coma for more than six months ago since he was found near Pontypool - was sentenced to three years in jail yesterday morning.

This comes after the 43-year-old pleaded guilty to destroying or damaging property recklessly as to endanger life at a previous hearing.

Bessant’s family have said the situation is heart-wrenching, but have thanked the judge for his lenience.

Prosecutor Gareth James said the incident occurred in the evening of December 22 last year, at Bessant's flat in Raglan Close, Talywain.

The court heard at 7.15pm neighbours heard a loud bang but, after going to Bessant's flat, they were unable to get in as the door had been barricaded with a settee. Using an axe to gain access, they found Bessant surrounded by flames and smoke.

He added: "The neighbours showed considerable bravery in acting the way they did and it is obvious through their persistence he was saved.

"It was quite apparent that he [Bessant] was injured - his hands were burnt and there were a lot of burns to his face."

Mr James said it will cost up to £30,000 to repair the flat, adding Bessant was assessed in a psychiatric ward before his arrest. In the police interview, Bessant said he had tried to kill himself after his brother was discovered critically injured.

Speaking in defence of Bessant, Gareth Williams said the incident was a cry for help.

"He has had long term relationships and has had jobs. He has never been in court before," he added. "The family are concerned about him because there seems to have been a downward spiral to his mental health."

Mr Williams said Bessant’s family are upset as he has self-harmed since they last saw him.

Sentencing him to three years in jail, judge Daniel Williams said Bessant had been affected by the injuries to his brother.

Mr Williams said: "I hope for your sake that you get help. There is clearly good in you - but what you did put the life of others at risk."

Neil Chere, Bessant’s brother-in-law, said the family are devastated. He said Bessant has got some issues that need sorting and thanked the judge for his lenience. Mr Chere continued: "It’s tough for Dwain’s parents as they’ve now lost a son for three years, while the situation around Scott remains unclear.

"But how much can one family take? It’s heart wrenching. We’re just lost words."