Thorney Close man jailed after setting fire to his own home in a mental health “cry for help”

A Sunderland man has been jailed after setting fire to his own house in a “cry for help” in what he also described as a suicide attempt.

Wayne Corbriette torched his housing association property in Sunderland after struggling with mental health issues, a court heard. He then called the emergency services saying he had tried to kill himself and firefighters put out the blaze.

Now Corbriette, who pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, has been jailed for two years and nine months at Newcastle Crown Court.

The court heard Corbriette was living at Tynedale Road, Sunderland, in a property owned by Gentoo housing association. On August 15 last year, his neighbour heard banging noises from his home as if he was causing damage.

Around the same time, Corbriette called emergency services saying he had set fire to his home in a suicide attempt. When police and firefighters arrived, they could see smoke coming from windows.

Investigations showed a fire had been set near the boiler and it caused £36,000 of fire and smoke damage. Fortunately, it did not spread to the neighbouring home but it did cause smoke damage to the loft next door.

Corbriette, 51, who has no previous convictions, initially said he was drunk and it was from a discarded cigarette but pleaded guilty on the basis it was done as a cry for help.

Paul Rooney, defending, said: “The fire was a cry for help and and not an intentional or serious attempt at trying to commit suicide by fire. His prompt actions demonstrated he didn’t intend to endanger anyone’s life, never mind his own.

“He had been speaking to the crisis team. His use of alcohol added to his mental health issues.”