Kingston Christmas shopping arsonist is sentenced eight months on (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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Kingston Christmas shopping arsonist is sentenced eight months on
A man with mental health problems who went on an arson spree through Kingston town centre at Christmas has been released from prison – after waiting almost eight months to be sentenced.
Barry Davies was told not to be “your own doctor” and to keep taking medication for his bi polar disorder, after being handed a three year community order at Kingston Crown Court.
Davies, 53, is estimated to have cost business more than £20,000 in damage and lost trade in the run up to last year’s festive season, when he set fire to clothing in 11 different shops, including seven in Kingston.
He was arrested on December 18, 2012 - hours after causing chaos in Kingston town centre and forcing the Bentall Centre and both M&S stores to evacuate shoppers.
Today, after a series of sentencing hearings were adjourned awaiting psychiatric and pre-sentence reports, Davies was finally handed a three year community order – and told to stay on his medication.
Judge Nicholas Price said: “It would be wrong if I were to ignore the basis for your criminal behaviour.
“That is you were mentally unwell and had been suffering from mental health issues for some time.
“It seems to me that in your interests, but importantly in the public interest, I should take the course that allows there to be treatment.
“You have spent eight months in custody. That in real terms represents a sentence of something like 16 months. I bare that in mind in making the order that I do.
“If you fail to abide by the community order you are liable to brought back to this court and, if it comes before me, I tell you now I will not take into account these eight months you have spent in custody, should a prison sentence be required.”
He added: “Don’t allow yourself to be your own doctor.”
Davies was placed back in the care of the West London Mental Health NHS Trust – which had discharged him one month before he started the fires.
Michael Green, defending Davies, said: “It must be concerning that his case was reviewed by the psychiatric team in mid-to-late November and the decision they made was that he should be discharged.”
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