A MAN who tried to torch a house in Holywell and threatened to kill a police officer he was disgruntled with has been jailed for four years.

Alfie Richardson left a Calor gas cannister on the doorstep of the occupied property at Moorfields in the town. He covered it with a towel soaked in accelerant before setting it alight on February 3 this year.

It was only the quick-thinking of passerby Benjamin Williams who doused the flames with bowls of water that averted serious harm to the householder, Kathryn Garner, although her home did suffer fire damage.

Richardson, Mold Crown Court heard, was suffering from severe mental health issues at the time and Judge Niclas Parry took that into account when sentencing him.

But the judge said: “There was a risk of serious injury and the fact that there wasn’t was down to the spirited actions of Mr Williams whom I publicly commend.”

Richardson bought the gas cannister in Chester two hours before leaving it on the doorstep of the Flintshire property.

Smoke and flames ignited and began licking the front door, but Ms Garner was warned by her neighbours not to open it and stay in her home.

Meanwhile, Mr Williams asked someone to ring the fire brigade while he began extinguishing the blaze by fetching bowls of water.

There appeared to be no motive to Richardson's action.

But a day after the incident he phoned North Wales Police saying that he had “threatened to murder the householder”. In the same call he also made threats to kill PC Christopher Williams, an officer he’d had dealings with four years previously.

Richardson, 30, of Sycamore Drive, Chester admitted arson with intent to endanger life and making threats to kill PC Williams.

Defence barrister Mark Connor said Richardson suffered from a number of mental health issues, including a personality disorder, which were particularly acute at the time of his offending.

He was genuinely remorseful and Mr Connor said: “He wants apologise to the victims of these offences and everyone else who was affected by what he did on that day.

“His time in custody since has been a wake-up call.”

Judge Parry imposed a restraining order preventing Richardson from making contact with both Ms Garner and the police officer and prohibiting from entering Moorfields in Holywell.

He told the defendant: “Your actions were affected by your mental health vulnerabilities.

“But this was a serious case of arson. Mercifully no-one was injured on that day and the damage was minimal."

NB: asked NWP press office for picture, they say they haven't got one on the system. Might be something to do with him being arrrested in Harrogate.