Doncaster arsonist jailed for longer

An arsonist from Doncaster has had his sentence increased following an intervention by the Solicitor General, Rt Hon Lucy Frazer QC MP.

Connor O’Rourke, 23, pleaded guilty to arson after setting fire to a neighbour’s home in the Wadworth area of Doncaster. O’Rourke’s own mother was in the property at the time.

On 26 June 2020, O’Rourke took a can of petrol and poured it over the front garden of the home. The fire subsequently spread to the main house.

Two women inside the home sustained injuries, including O’Rourke’s own mother who suffered burns over nearly 70% of her body and needed to be placed on a ventilator.

On 5 March 2021, O’Rourke was convicted of arson, being reckless as to whether life is endangered, and sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment at Sheffield Crown Court.

Following the court’s decision, the Solicitor General referred the sentence to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme.

On 11 June, the Court found the sentence to be unduly lenient and increased it to 6 years’ imprisonment with a 3-year extended licence.

After the hearing at the Court of Appeal the Solicitor General, Rt Hon Lucy Frazer QC MP, said:

I was shocked by O’Rourke’s incredibly reckless and dangerous behaviour, which resulted in two women sustaining serious injuries. He also put the other residents at grave risk. I am glad that the Court of Appeal increased his sentence today.

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