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Bail for hoax-calling arsonist
6:00am Wednesday 15th August 2012 in News
A convicted arsonist who made hoax phone calls to police has been given bail by a crown court recorder.
Benjamin Pontifex-Price, aged 21, of Fairlawns, Much Cowarne, near Bromyard, pleaded guilty to improper use of the telephone system last month.
He was already on a 12-month suspended jail sentence for arson at a Land Rover centre where he caused £41,000 damage, said Peter Grice, prosecuting at Worcester Crown Court .
Mr Grice objected to bail after it was decided to adjourn sentence for a mental health assessment to be made of Pontifex-Price.
He said there was a likelihood of further offences because the defendant had a history of similar hoax calls, including 11 to the emergency services in the early hours.
Mr Grice said his parents ran a pub and there was evidence that Pontifex-Price had been drinking considerably when he caused damage to a neighbouring property.
He had used petrol to set one Land Rover alight and had scratched the paintwork of another vehicle.
But David Iles, prosecuting, said he was “a troubled young man who was in a fragile state” and needed help after being locked up on remand for a month.
His parents, who were in the court’s public gallery, had struggled to know how to deal with his criminal behaviour.
Helen Malcolm QC ruled that the most convenient way of completing the mental health report was for Pontifex-Price to be granted bail.
She made it a condition that he live at home and keep to an overnight curfew. She said bail was no indication of the eventual sentence which would be imposed in the week beginning September 10.