Man who torched homeless person’s sleeping bag jailed

Graham Moffat admitted attempting to murder a man as he slept on a street in Glasgow.

A man who attempted to murder a homeless person by torching his sleeping bag has been jailed for six-and-a-half years.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Graham Moffat admitted attempting to murder the victim just before 2am on August 2, 2018 on East Campbell Street, Glasgow.

The 52-year-old was caught on CCTV footage, pulling out a lighter and setting the sleeping bag alight, before walking away.

‘Had fate taken another turn he would have met a most horrible death and you would be facing a murder charge.’

Judge Lord Matthews

Judge Lord Matthews told Moffat: “You have pleaded guilty to attempting to murder a homeless gentleman by setting fire to a sleeping bag in which he was sleeping in the early hours of the morning. 

“He woke up due to the heat, fumes and smoke coming from his sleeping bag. 

“There were no flames. This was both his and your good fortune. 

“Had fate taken another turn he would have met a most horrible death and you would be facing a murder charge.”

Moffat was in court to watch CCTV footage of the incident. His defence counsel Sarah Livingstone described his behaviour in the clips as ‘bizarre.’

Ms Livingstone addd: “He has absolutely no recollection of doing this.”

The court heard that homeless Moffat, a former fishery worker, has a history of drug and alcohol abuse and psychiatric issues, but at the time of the murder bid was legally responsible for his actions.

Prosecutor Liam Ewing said: “This took place at a set of steps at the main entrance to the Lodging House Mission.

“Around 10.30pm the victim arrived, lay in his sleeping bag with the hood partially covering his head – and fell asleep.”

Around 1.56am he was woken by head, fumes and smoke coming from the bottom of his sleeping bag.

He managed to unzip it, scramble out and then beat out the fire with his arms.

Mr Ewing added: “There were no flames, only smoke. After putting out the fire he went back to sleep.”

Later that morning he told staff at the Mission what had happened and they contacted  police.

Officers viewed video footage from CCTV cameras at the Mission and then as they walked along East Campbell Street spotted Moffat who was still wearing the red jacket.

He was searched and had six lighters in his inside jacket pocket.

Referring to the CCTV footage Mr Ewing said: “The accused stops next to the victim, puts his hand inside his jacket and then walks away,

“He then turns back towards him, who is sleeping. A naked flame is seen in the accused’s  right hand.

“He then bends down towards where he is lying and remains in this position for ten seconds,  then steps back and walks away from him.”

The victim was uninjured in the incident.