Man jailed for starting fire in block of flats

3 March 2016

A Bournemouth man who threatened to harm residents in a block of flats before starting a fire has been jailed for 32 months.

Paul Coultis, 42, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday 19 February 2016 after previously pleading guilty at the same court to committing arson recklessly.

The court heard that at around 8.45pm on Saturday 15 August 2015, Dorset Police received a call from Coultis who said officers had five minutes to attend his flat in Beswick Avenue before he harmed other residents.

When police arrived they saw Coultis in a first floor window shouting threats to officers and claiming he wanted to end his life.

Coultis began throwing things at a window causing it to smash. He then started hurling items out of the broken window and onto the car park, including a three feet tall wooden statue, vases and a flat screen TV.

Officers also witnessed Coultis smashing windows and the contents of his flat with a hammer before throwing it at an officer outside.

Coultis, who had claimed he was in possession of a machete and had barricaded himself inside his flat, then set two pillows on fire in separate rooms.

Officers observed Coutlis collapse due to the heavy smoke and forced entry to the flat pulling him to safety.

Detective Constable Adam Carr, of Bournemouth CID, said: “During the incident the residents – some of which were frail and had trouble walking – were evacuated. If it wasn’t for prompt police intervention and the evacuation of these residents, the incident could have led to tragedy. Thankfully no one was injured.

“Coultis’ actions that day were out of control and reckless. I hope the sentence given by the courts proves that behaviour such as this will not be tolerated and you will be dealt with robustly by the courts.” 

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