Fireraiser who torched house given final chance

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A man who set fire to a house has been warned he will be jailed for over two years if he fails to comply fully with a community payback order imposed for the crime.

Edward Crook torched clothing, bedding, sheets and cardboard boxes full of household ornaments in the flat at 20 Beauly Court, Hallglen, on October 15 last year.

The blaze he wilfully started caused extensive damage to the flat and the smoke affected the common stairwell of the building and neighbouring properties as well and put the lives of the people living there in danger.

Crook pled guilty on indictment to wilfully setting the fire and being in possession of two knives and sentenced on March 2.

At Falkirk Sheriff Court last Thursday the 25-year-old, whose address was given as Low Moss Prison, had his progress with his order reviewed.

His lawyer admitted: “It does not make happy reading.”

Sheriff Craig Caldwell told Crook: “Given the offence you were very fortunate to be placed on a community payback order in the first place, but it is clear you have not engaged.”

The sheriff gave him until today (Thursday) to make an effort.

But he warned him last Thursday: “You are very close to being sent to jail right now. Given the seriousness of the offence you committed the stark reality is you are facing two and a half to three years in custody if you do not take this final chance to fully comply.”

At the same court, Matthew McKissick, 23 Dunvegan Drive, Langlees, was placed on a supervised community payback order for three years for a series of assaults on his ex-wife and former partner.

The 46-year-old serial bully carried out the attacks on his wife in 1991 and between 1996 and 1999 and partner between 2011 and 2014.

After a trial in February, McKissick had sentenced deferred for his suitability with the domestic abuse programme to be determined.

Sheriff Caldwell told him: “The report does not give me great confidence, but I’ll give you the opportunity to engage with it”

McKissick’s progress will be reviewed on June 2.

If it is not positive, he will be jailed.