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Teenager detained at mental hospital after setting fire to six Black Country buses in eight days

By John Scott | Bushbury | News | Published:

An 18-year-old who set fire to six buses in eight days has been ordered to be detained indefinitely in a secure mental hospital.

A National Express bus, similar to the ones targeted by Gocan

Limel Gocan ignited seats on a variety of Black Country routes causing over £1,500 worth of damage, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Fire crews were called to two of the blazes and a bus driver had to be treated at the scene of one of the incidents after being overcome by the smoke, said Mr Andrew Baker, prosecuting.

The teenage fire raiser struck first shortly before 10.30pm on March 27 when he set light to a rear seat on the top floor of a double decker on the 126 service that runs from Wolverhampton to Birmingham via Dudley. He was the only passenger and left before it was realised what he had done.

On April 2 he set another fire on a seat on the lower deck of a double decker heading for Dudley bus station. He struck three times on different buses the following day with the last of these affecting the 32 service as it travelled down Stafford Street near Wolverhampton city centre.

On April 4 Gocan was responsible for another blaze which flared up on the same route in Northwood Park Road. Fire fighters were called to the scene where the bus driver received treatment. The defendant was arrested on a 126 bus the following day.

He suffered from learning difficulties, Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the court heard. Experts said he struggled to understand the possible consequences of his actions.

The defendant, of previous good character and from Rushall Road, Bushbury, admitted six charges of arson and was made the subject of a hospital order by Judge Amjad Nawaz who said: “Sadly these conditions will stay with him for the rest of his life. Prison will do him no good and a stay in hospital should reduce the risk of his future offending. I hope the treatment may allow his discharge to his family but the setting of fire in bus seats could presents a considerable potential danger to the public.”

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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