A paranoid schizophrenic left a Corby family in emotional tatters after an arson attack outside their home.
Jahidur Rahman, 27, set fire to two cars in Osbourne Close on the Oakley Vale estate in an unprovoked incident on September 7, 2016.
Yesterday (Tuesday), Northampton Crown Court heard the victim was awoken at 3am by what he described as a popping sound at the front of his house, with the fire brigade already in attendance.
Both his and his wife’s cars were alight and extensively damaged, causing several thousands of pounds’ worth of damage.
The Honda Civic and Nissan Juke had to be written off, costing the family £700 in insurance excess.
Prosecuting, Andrew Howarth said: “The watch commander noted that the cars were parked about four feet away from the family home.
“There was a huge risk to the fire crew and anyone nearby.”
He added that had the fire crew been called any later it would have spread to the house.
He said: “There was a serious chance that the occupants’ lives would have been in danger had the fire spread to the house.”
Police reviewed CCTV footage and an officer recognised Rahman as the arsonist.
CCTV showed him smoking a cigarette before he went between the cars, bent down and picked something up.
He put it on the windscreen and set fire to it with an aerosol and a lighter.
Rahman, formerly of Lyveden Way, left the scene but was later arrested.
He denied he was there and denied it was him on the CCTV footage.
Rahman later pleaded guilty to reckless arson endangering life after previously pleading not guilty.
Reading an impact statement from the victim, Mr Howarth said: “He said the fire left him a nervous wreck.
“His wife took five weeks off work because of the stress and he invested in extra security.”
Eventually they decided to put their house on the market.
Mr Howarth added: “After nine months he was still struggling to sleep.”
The court heard that Rahman has previous convictions for dangerous driving and possession of a knife.
He has been treated by a psychiatrist for almost two years and was described in court as ‘quite unpredictable’ when he is unwell.
Sentencing, His Honour Judge Fowler said the consequences for the victims had been “devastating”.
Rahman was sentenced to a hospital order under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act with restrictions under Section 41 of the Mental Health Act.
This means he cannot be discharged from hospital unless the Ministry of Justice says he can.
Judge Fowler said: “It’s necessary, to protect the public from serious risk of harm, to make a restriction order.”