Arson attack on pensioner's home

PUBLISHED: 11:18 06 September 2007 | UPDATED: 12:46 04 May 2010

A TEENAGER who stuffed a lighted cigarette butt through the letter box of an 82-year-old man as part of a campaign of intimidation was given a five-month suspended jail sentence this week. The arson attack has left the pensioner suffering from depression;

A TEENAGER who stuffed a lighted cigarette butt through the letter box of an 82-year-old man as part of a campaign of intimidation was given a five-month suspended jail sentence this week.

The arson attack has left the pensioner suffering from depression; he places a bowl of water by the door every night, and has stopped using his front room.

Jamie Candian carried out the attack after elderly Eric Wright complained about a group of teenagers kicking a football against his home, Ely magistrates were told.

"Mr Wright confronted the group, that was pretty brave for an 82-year-old," said presiding magistrate Hamish Ross, paying tribute to the pensioner.

"He is part of the old school saying 'I am standing up for my rights,' but you carried on intimidating him."

At an earlier hearing, 18-year-old Candian, who used to live in Burwell but now lives in Harlow, admitted committing arson on March 25, damaging the wooden surround of Mr Wright's letter box. He further admitted stealing beer from the Co-op store in Burwell.

"Mr Wright has had trouble with youngsters in his street for sometime, kicking balls against his window and making a nuisance of themselves," prosecutor Matthew Bradbury told Ely magistrates.

On March 26 he came downstairs to find the cigarette stub, and damage to the letterbox surround. DNA checks carried on the stub matched with Candian.

Solicitor Jeremy Kendall said Candian had been going astray, but had since moved away. He had got a job as a plumber's mate and was in a steady relationship.

Ordering Candian to pay £150 compensation to his elderly victim, Mr Ross said: "It is our job to defend vulnerable members of society from members of your group.

"The physical damage caused was minimal, but the distress caused to an elderly man, I cannot begin to understand it."

Candian will be supervised by the probation service for two years, and must carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and pay £100 costs.

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