A man who set fire to his own flat as a “cry for help” has been jailed after he failed to comply with a community order.
Andrew Dempster previously admitted setting his couch and carpet ablaze in his Leith Walk flat in March 2019.
A neighbour tried to put the fire out after his ceiling became charred, but Dundee Sheriff Court heard Dempster was nonchalant about the flames around him.
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael previously imposed an 18-month supervision on Dempster as an alternative to custody. However, after the 29-year-old repeatedly failed to comply with the order, he was this week sent to jail.
The court previously heard how firefighters and police attended with an experienced firefighter assessing that the fire had been started on the left arm rest of a couch with matches. He came to the conclusion that this was deliberately started.
A resident who lived below Dempster knew him personally and had complained about noise in the past.
After being taken to Ninewells Hospital, Dempster was later charged by police, and responded: “I don’t know why I’m getting charged with setting my own flat on fire.”
Dempster pleaded guilty to wilfully setting fire to a sofa and flooring so that the fire took effect, damaging both and endangering other residents at Leith Walk on March 26.
He returned to the dock from custody before Sheriff Carmichael following the preparation of psychiatric reports.
Defence solicitor Theo Finlay said Dempster, who suffers from mental health issues and learning difficulties, did not pose a significant risk to the public as assessed in the report.
Mr Finlay added that Dempster had intermittently spent a significant period in custody in relation to the offence and other matters and urged Sheriff Carmichael to defer sentence for Dempster to be of good behaviour.
Sheriff Carmichael, however, believed only a jail term was appropriate, saying: “I have no confidence that if I defer sentence on you then you will be motivated to stay out of trouble.”
Dempster was jailed for four months.