Man admits arson at Preston's Guild Lodge mental health unit after being denied trip to see dying dad

Guild Lodge
Guild Lodge

A mentally ill man torched a room at a psychiatric unit in Preston after he was refused a trip to see his terminally ill father as a punishment.

Scott Hibbert learned he would not be allowed to leave Guild Lodge in Whittingham near Preston, to make the visit to his dad, after he ‘broke a rule’.

He barricaded himself into his room and armed himself with a broken electric toothbrush which had a metal spike exposed.

He then set fire to a pile of clothes at the bottom of a wardrobe, Preston Crown Court was told.

Sentencing him, Recorder David Swinnerton imposed a two year community order with a mental health treatment requirement.

He said: “ You’ve got a number of previous convictions and had a very troubled childhood.

“You were addicted to drugs and taking a large quantity of drugs from an unusually young age - that was partly due to your parents abusing drugs and alcohol as you were growing up.

“You were there for perhaps longer than you needed to be. There was then a regime change which seemed to have become stricter and then of course you learnt about your father suffering terminal cancer and that he was dying.

He added: “On that morning you were told you weren’t having leave because of some breach of the rules, but of course you’d organised to see your father so that punishment was rather more extreme than it would have been.

“I can understand your frustration and quite frankly can’t help but think it should have been handled more sensitively.

“Nonetheless you should not have reacted as you did.

“You must understand you can’t go lighting any sort of fire in future.”

Hibbert, 20, and now of Bedford Street, Mill Hill, Blackburn, admitted arson and affray, following the incident on May 18 last year.

Jon Close, prosecuting, said Hibbert had also become frustrated because his release into the community had been delayed due to a lack of funding and proper places.

Since the offence he has been discharged and is living with his brother.