A ‘humiliated’ husband who set fire to his own home after concocting a story that his estranged wife had hired two hit men to harm him has been spared what would normally have been an “inevitable” prison sentence.
In March last year, Michael Hartley was living alone in a flat in Peartree Park, Carnforth.
He told police he had received a text message threatening him.
He claimed he had been attacked by two unknown men wearing motor cycle helmets, the barrister said.
The court heard that on September 2 Hartley set fire to his flat, jumping out of a first floor window onto a car to escape the fumes.
He confessed to a psychiatric nurse that he had sent the threatening messages, and started the fire, himself.
In mitigation defence barrister Tim Storrie said Hartley’s behaviour had been “shaped entirely by a very deep personal crisis, in the middle of which he was suffering from a very very severe degree of depression.”
He was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years.