Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Attention-seeking youth campaigner sent to jail on day of his 22nd birthday
An attention-seeking arsonist who set fire to his home because he wanted to be rescued has been jailed for three years and four months.
Youth campaigner Matthew Dutton, who turned 22 yesterday, was led to the cells to shouts of “Happy Birthday” from his family.
Dutton had been held in custody in Leeds Prison awaiting sentence for lighting a plastic litter bin filled with paper and cardboard at the rented house he had lived in for three days.
Dutton, who had left the front door ajar, was led to safety by passers-by Faisal Hayat and Mohammed Hassan, who were publicly commended by Judge John Potter for their bravery.
Dutton pleaded guilty to reckless arson at about 1.30am on May 19.
He told his rescuers “somebody else must have done it” but confessed to paramedics and the police that he was the firebug.
Dutton was treated at Bradford Royal Infirmary for smoke inhalation and arrested from the hospital soon afterwards.
The blaze caused £1,000-worth of damage.
Dutton variously told the police the fire was because he wanted to be noticed, intended to kill himself, wanted to be rescued and it was a cry for help.
He said “when his head goes he knows he will do something bad,” Miss Downing told the court.
Dutton’s barrister, David McGonigal, said: “He went to the police and the hospital to seek assistance but, because he wasn’t suffering from mental illness, there was nothing they could do at that stage.”
Judge Potter said Dutton was a risk to the public with his “dangerous, reckless and attention-seeking behaviour”.
In 2009, a 17-year-old Dutton campaigned to save Bradford Council's Information Shop in the city centre and also started a petition to stop the closure of the footbridge across Hall Ings.
Two years later, he was locked up for two years for threatening to blow up Trafalgar House police station in Nelson Street, Bradford.
The building was partially evacuated, streets closed and the Army Bomb Disposal Unit called in after Dutton sent a text saying: “Just to let you know that the police station is going to be blown up in four hours’ time. You have four hours until it goes. Bye, bye, Trafalgar House.”