Teenage arsonist's family to pay costs after Bangor school blaze


Staff reporter (NW Chronicle)

A 14-year-old boy arsonist caused more than £100,000 damage to a primary school when “messing” with a lighter, a court heard.

The youngster received a twelve-month referral order and his family must pay £80 costs after he admitted starting the blaze at Our Lady Immaculate RC School at Bangor, one night last February.

Prosecutor Alun Humphreys said a container in a bunker behind a classroom had been the source of the fire and the 120-pupil school was closed for a number of days. Fire crews responded to a 999 call on February 28.

A few days later the boy was at school and spoke to a worker. “He asked her whether she heard about the fire at the school and went on to explain to her that he and another boy had been involved in the setting of the fire,” the prosecutor said.

The boy claimed they had been making petrol bombs but a fire investigator found no evidence of this.

Mr Humphreys said he was taken to a local police station. However, he then denied responsibility for the fire or making petrol bombs.

He had originally denied arson at Caernarfon youth court but changed his plea before a trial. The teen said he and another boy had been playing with lighters.

He also admitted criminal damage to a shed door.

The solicitor said there were no previous convictions but the boy received a police reprimand nearly a year earlier for arson involving grassland.

Deborah Davies, defending, said he had been messing around with a lighter and hadn’t thought about the consequences.

Court chairman Malcolm Jones told the accused: ”You know this is a very serious offence. If you were over 16 you would most certainly have gone into prison.”

The magistrate hoped the boy would have the opportunity to apologise to the headteacher.

No compensation was awarded because of his age and family financial situation.

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