"his business failed and he turned to alcohol"
Shakir Raza, aged 37, of Oakwood, Derby, was jailed for two years and five months after setting fire to his partner’s flat. The failed businessman had committed arson while drunk.
Derby Crown Court heard how Raza lit flammable material under the stairs at the first-floor property in Alvaston.
Tenants at an adjoining address had to evacuate their home while firefighters tackled the blaze which caused severe damage.
The businessman escaped out of a window and fled only to return and get arrested.
The prosecutor, Sarah Allen, said the fire was set on March 18, 2020, at the property on Coronation Avenue where Raza’s girlfriend of eight years lived.
Earlier in the day, his partner dropped him off at work. However, he then took a taxi to her flat and had been drinking alcohol.
Miss Allen said: “The relationship between the defendant and his partner had become troubled after his business failed and he turned to alcohol as a result.
“She dropped him off at work and he turned up in a taxi having been drinking.
“She had given him a key to the flat and he had gone inside and would not let her in.
“She was outside and family members of the defendant came to assist her.
“They noticed flames behind the front door and the fire service were called.”
Three fire appliances arrived and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus put out the flames.
Miss Allen added: “Severe damage was caused to the first floor flat but I have not been given a (monetary) figure as to how much it cost to fix.
“No accelerant was used and it was determined the seat of the fire was material under the stairs.”
The businessman was arrested and later pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
He has previous convictions for drink-driving and motoring offences but nothing of a similar nature.
Laura Pitman, defending, said Raza committed the crime at a time when he was suffering a mental health crisis following the failure of his business.
She said: “He has an incredible family who support him and since he has been remanded into custody have sold his business and cleared his debts.
“They know it will be a long prison sentence but their hope is that when he is released their hope and anticipation is that he will return to employment at the takeaway which has been bought by a friend or associate and who have said they will offer him a job.”
Judge Nirmal Shant QC told Raza: “It is in a house that had been split into different flats and the risk to others is clear.
“But it is clear to me that alcohol and a mental health crisis played a large part in what happened on that day.
“You have a supportive family and I hope you are able to take advantage of that when you are released from custody.”
Derby Telegraph reported that Raza was jailed for two years and five months.