Preston arsonist tried to torch hotel

Phillip Parrish
Phillip Parrish
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An arsonist who tried to torch a notorious city hotel has been jailed for two and a half years.

Phillip Neil Parrish, 30, of no fixed abode, set a pile of clothing ablaze in the corridor of the Clifton Hotel on Fishergate Hill in Preston, Preston Crown Court was told.

The blackened and charred fabric was discovered in an access passage to the lower level of the hotel, which has been known to house up to 50 people.

Prosecuting, David Clarke, described how the incident unfolded in the early hours of February 11.

Parrish admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, and a further arson count will lie on file.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire And Rescue Service said two crews from Preston and one from Penwortham attended the scene at around 5.12am, and found a pile of clothing on fire in a basement corridor, which was external to the living premises, and was secured by doors at either end of the corridor.

The building suffered light smoke damage to a wall.

A probe was launched and police found evidence Parrish, who has previous convictions, had started the fire deliberately.

It is understood two of his ex girlfriends lived in the property.

Group Manager Tony Crook, of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: " At this time, in the aftermath of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in London, we are only too aware of the potentially terrible consequences of fires in living accommodation.

"Although the fire that resulted in this prosecution did not result in a loss of life, it so easily could have developed into a major fire and killed someone.

"It was down to chance that it didn’t and the custodial sentence surely reflects the seriousness of the offence."

The Clifton Hotel has had a chequered history, housing many people with drug and alcohol problems and being the source of numerous police raids and visits.

In 2014 a man plunged to his death from his bedroom window.

A Freedom of Information disclosure revealed police recorded 104 incidents at the location between November 2012 and November 2015, equating to nine days, 14 hours, 42 minutes and 17 seconds of police time.

Strettles, which now runs the property, did not wish to comment.