An arsonist has been jailed for five years after setting a family’s home on fire while a couple and a little girl were sleeping at the house.

Michal Calka put a lit firelighter through the letterbox at the address in the “wicked, evil and extremely dangerous,” revenge attack at dead of night, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

Calka, 32, of Thornes Park, Rastrick, Brighouse, pleaded guilty to reckless arson at the house in the Halifax area on May 30 last year.

Prosecutor Austin Newman said the couple and the child were present at the address when Calka set it on fire at 1am.

The male householder heard the smoke alarms going off and saw flames coming from a firelighter hanging from the letterbox.

The woman was also awoken and saw flames in the doorway and smoke billowing up the landing.

The man used water to extinguish the fire and the police were alerted.

CCTV from a nearby property showed Calka walking to the house shortly before the smoke alarms sounded.

He was arrested close by with two lighters in his rucksack and a jumper that smelled of smoke.

Mr Newman said the blaze put the family at serious risk. A lit firelighter created “an initial and intense burst of flame.”

The woman householder was left fearful, anxious and intimidated. She was particularly distressed because her young daughter was in the house at the time.

Giles Grant said in mitigation that probation and psychiatric reports had been prepared ahead of the sentencing hearing.

Calka, who was sentenced on a video link to Leeds Prison with the help of a Polish inter-preter, had admitted the offence at the police station.

Mr Grant said Calka bitterly regretted his actions and had no previous convictions for arson. He suffered from depression and was self-medicating with alcohol at the time.

He had a traumatic and difficult childhood and had struggled with the court and prison process. He now hoped to put the “isolated and terrible incident behind him.”

Recorder Chris Knox said Calka was a hardworking man with no other convictions in the UK.

But the arson attack was “wicked, evil and extremely dangerous.”

Calka was in drink in the revenge attack at the family home at night when there was a little girl in the house. He had thought the couple had “slighted” relatives of his.

He had put multiple people at risk of their lives and shown no remorse.

Recorder Knox made an indefinite restraining order banning Calka from the street and from contacting the couple in any way.