A PRISONER set fire to his cell in a suicide attempt and was told the blaze could have spread to the rest of the prison, putting the lives of other inmates and staff at risk.

Kieran Green, already serving a 10 year prison sentence for aggravated burglary, admitted arson after setting fire to his cell at HMP Hewell in an attempt to take his own life.

The 24-year-old set the fire on April 9 last year and staff with protective equipment including smoke hoods managed to put it out, containing the blaze within Green’s cell.

Sophie Murray, prosecuting, said the fire was set behind the cell door, causing £3,336 damage to the cell and £848 to replace protective equipment.

In 2015 Green was sentenced to 10 years for aggravated burglary, a sentence extended by six months after he assaulted another prisoner in 2018.

Miss Murray said: “There was a risk to a number of people in the prison and staff. Luckily it was well contained because of the fire procedures they already had in place and access to combustible items is limited because of the prison environment.”

Half an hour before the fire Green was described as ‘threatening to staff’ and also ‘threatening to set fire to his cell’. However, Miss Murray said excellent understanding of fire procedures and staff’s encouraging professionalism ‘resulted in Mr Green’s life being saved.’

In interview Green said he was ‘trying to commit suicide’ and answered no comment to all other questions.

Raymond Ali, defending, said the psychiatric report had identified the defendant’s lack of maturity and poor judgement, ‘manifested in his failure to appreciate the dangers of an uncontrolled fire’.

He added: “There does seem to be a history of depression, overdosing and suicide attempts while he has been incarcerated.” Mental health problems had resulted in visits from a psychiatric nurse. Mr Ali urged the judge to give his client credit for his ‘clear indication of remorse’, and said there were no physical injuries to anyone save for smoke inhalation.

“He’s serving a long sentence. His actions were born out of a sense of naivety and frustration” said Mr Ali.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright said: “Staff, realising the alarms had gone off, reacted by donning fire hoods with oxygen supply and used water to contain the fire but the fire was burning, to some extent, for 20 minutes or thereabouts. There was smoke and there was heat, particularly at the door where the bulk of the damage was done.”

He said the fire could have spread through the prison’s ventilation system and there was a risk to those present.

The judge imposed a 14 month prison sentence which will run consecutively to the one he is already serving. If he serves half that sentence it will have the effect of extending his existing sentence by seven months.