Ranby prisoner set fire to cell on Bonfire Night

Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Mansfield Magistrates Court.

A Ranby prisoner who started a fire in his cell on Bonfire Night will not be sent back to prison, a court ruled.

Lewis Rigby stuck silver foil into a 40w wall socket in his cell and set fire to a piece of plastic, on November 5, 2017.

Prisoner officers extinguished the fire, which spread to bedding, but the blaze caused £2,475 of damage.

And in a different cell, on January 9, 2018, he started another fire which caused £1,107 of damage.

He failed to turn up to Mansfield Magistrates Court, on January 31, for a trial, and was convicted in his absence.

Morgan Hogarth, mitigating, said Rigby had been involved in a series of incidents before the fires, including damage, on October 4, climbing on to safety netting, on October 8, and barricading his cell door on November 3.

“He was not receiving medications for psychiatric issues and was in severe emotional distress,” Mr Hogarth said.

“”We are talking about a young man being put through a great deal of emotional trauma.

“All that he was trying to do was harm himself.”

Mr Hogarth added that Rigby had been taking cocaine to “deal with the stress of this case and ongoing psychiatric issues.”

“He accepts it doesn’t help,” he added.

Mr Hogarth said Rigby contacted the court on the day of his trial to say he would be late, but handed himself in to police when he returned to Manchester Picadilly.

The court heard he is on licence, following a prison sentence, until April 2020, and owes £2,385 in outstanding fines.

Rigby, 25, of Bell Lane, Bury, was found guilty of two counts of arson, in his absence, when he failed to attend a trial at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on January 31.

He was given a nine month community order, with a six month drug rehabilitation programme and ten days of a rehabilitation activity.

He must pay an £85 government surcharge but no costs were ordered.