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I started blaze at curry house; Man, 26, admits city centre arson.

Byline: CHLOE GRIFFITHS

A 26-YEAR-OLD man admitted starting a ferocious blaze at a city centre restaurant.

Two men had to be rescued from an adjoining roof after the Spice City Balti House was set alight.

A total of four men needed hospital treatment for smoke inhalation after the arson attack on the four-storey property on Stanley Street.

Alan Cashman, from Anfield, was originally charged with arson with intent to endanger life.

At Liverpool crown court yesterday, shaven-headed Cashman entered a not guilty plea to that charge but admitted the lesser charge of arson being reckless to whether life was endangered on August 9. His barrister Julian Nutter asked for sentencing to be adjourned so psychiatric reports could be carried out.

Judge Mark Brown agreed but warned Cashman, of Alfonso Road, he would have to consider the danger he posed, particularly because has a previous conviction for arson.

Mike Stephenson, prosecuting, said there was CCTV footage of Cashman prior to the blaze. He said: "It's a short clip which really establishes the defendant was piling up cardboard in the door."

He added there was an old staircase in the building which acted as a vent, causing the blaze to spread rapidly.

He said: "There was a lot of residential occupiers on the floors above that had to be vacated. Some people climbed on to the roof and ultimately were taken to hospital with smoke inhalation."

Mr Nutter added that the CCTV footage showed someone "bewildered and bemuddled" with drink.

Cashman will now be sentenced on January 18, 2010.

CAPTION(S):

SMOKING: Fire crews tackle the August blaze at Spice City in Stanley Street
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 26, 2009
Words:272
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