A man who set fire to a 5G mast causing £ 100,000 damage suffered from “severe mental health problems,” a judge said.
David Patterson, 41, was given a suspended sentence in Newcastle Crown Court Friday after hearing Judge Sarah Mallett how he now responded well to his medication.
Judge Mallett described Patterson climbing into a compound in the early hours of June 21st and lighting the BT mast located on the roof of the Wardley Garage in Gateshead.
She said, “In summary, you felt it was necessary to destroy the mast to protect others.
“It was a product of your mental illness at the time.”
The judge said the defendant had been prescribed antipsychotics but had stopped using them and had a “psychotic episode”.
She said he was arrested at the scene after calling the police and fire brigade and being taken to hospital for treatment.
The court heard how the risk Patterson posed was reduced as he took his medication, and Judge Mallett said, “It is clear that you have committed to it.”
An earlier hearing heard the defendant get so paranoid about the effects of the mast that he built a canning bunker in his home and covered himself with foil.
Patterson of Pensher Street East, Felling, Gateshead, admitted arson earlier this year.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of unpaid labor.
The judge was told that Patterson was unable to pay compensation to BT.
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