A fireraiser who confessed to police after torching his tenement flat has been jailed for 40 months.
The High Court in Glasgow heard that 52-year-old Robert Algeo snapped over the pressures of covid, losing his job and problems with a neighbour.
He set three fires in his tenement flat while most of the other 11 flats in the block were occupied and then walked to the nearest police station of confessed what he had done.
In court, Algeo admitted wilful fireraising to the danger of life of the neighbouring residents in Middleton Street, Glasgow, on August 12, last year.
Jailing Algeo, who appeared via a video link Lord Arthurson said: “Neighbouring flats had to be evacuated and £34,000 of damage was caused.
“You have accepted responsibility and have expressed remorse for this crime from the outset.”
Lord Arthurson said it was fortunate no one was injured and praised the fire brigade and police for their prompt action in tackling the blaze.
Defence counsel Sarah Livingstone said: “This was a moment of madness. His intention was to damage his own flat. He then made his way to the police station and told them what he had done.
The court heard that Algeo told stunned cops: “I’ve just set my flat on fire. It was my intention to burn the whole close down.”
He set fire to a wardrobe, a cardboard box containing clothing and a cardboard box inside a wardrobe.
Algeo then locked the flat and walked to Govan police station which was 30 minutes away and said: “I want to hand myself in.”
Prosecutor Michael Meehan said: “The accused was interviewed and admitted setting the fires to inconvenience the neighbours.”
The court heard that all the flats were evacuated by the fire brigade and one man had to be treated for smoke inhalation.
The total damage caused by the blaze was estimated at £34,000.
Ms Livingstone, representing Algeo, added: “His position is that a perfect storm had come.
“There was a minor incident involving a neighbour and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“He had lost his job due to lockdown. He had wanted to move, but losing his job meant that was not possible.
“His position is that he tried to damage his own flat. He was in a daze. He says it is possible he told police he had wanted to burn down the tenement, but that was not his intention.”