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Arsonist pulled from home he torched

Man rescued from blaze he started had 'complete disregard for the safety' of firefighters

14 July, 2017 — By William McLennan

The second fire at the house in Prince of Wales Road

A MAN who used gallons of petrol to torch his Chalk Farm home has been sent to a secure mental health hospital indefinitely after being found guilty of arson.

Nicholas Templin, 51, was pulled from the burning terrace in Prince of Wales Road by police officers and firefighters who risked their lives to rescue him, Blackfriars Crown Court was told. He denied the charge and said he had no recollection of what happened on the night of the fire in January, but a jury took less than an hour to find him guilty on Friday.

Her Honour Judge Sally Cahill QC said he had shown “a complete disregard for the safety of these officers who, with great bravery, came to try and assist you”. Two firefighters and three police officers entered the building to rescue Mr Templin, who was in the basement and refusing to leave.

The jury heard that he told officers: “I’m the captain of the ship and I’m going to go down with it.” Among the flame and water-damaged debris, officers found a bag containing six DVDs and a note, in Mr Templin’s handwriting, which said: “Before I die in my old house, I thought you might like to know six of my fave films ever.” Mr Templin denied attempting to take his own life in the fire and said: “The problem is there is four hours of my life that is going to decide the rest of my future. How can I be accused of endangering other people’s lives when the fire that was started I have no recollection of this. It’s four hours of my life I can’t explain.”

While Mr Templin was in Chase Farm Hospital, in Enfield, awaiting trial, the part-burnt remains of his home were set on fire again, the court heard. The second fire in March caused Mr Templin’s neighbours to flee their home for the second time within two months. Dr Asim Suddle, who was responsible for Mr Templin’s care at Chase Farm, said: “I think he suffered from significant mental health issues at the time of the offence.”

He said that Mr Templin had made it clear he would “prefer serving a sentence in prison”, but added: “I don’t believe Mr Templin would do well in prison.”

Judge Cahill issued a hospital order, under Section 41 of the Mental Health Act.

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