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Man got sexual high from arson attacks; Former prisoner is detained after guard's car torched.

Byline: Suzanne Evans

AN ARSONIST who torched a prison officer's car gets a sexual high from lighting fires, a court heard.

Huw D'arcy Richards set fire to the prison guard's car just weeks after being released from a jail sentence for a series of arson attacks.

Merthyr Crown Court heard that Richards, of Park Hill, Mountain Ash, had previously appeared in court for seven arson attacks, including setting light to cars and the nightclub toilets at Judges in Aberdare.

The court was told he suffers from severe Asperger's syndrome, psychosis, pyromania and anxiety and got sexual gratification from setting fires.

Rachel Knight, prosecuting, said that Richards knew the prison guard owner of the car from his last stint behind bars in Parc Prison and lived no more than 100 yards away from him.

She said the 25-year-old had said he had been on his way home from the nearby Napier Arms pub last September when he started the blaze.

He then telephoned the emergency services to report the flames, saying that the car was slightly on fire.

He offered to put it out himself, saying that he could see smoke and knew where it was coming from.

"He said the smoke was coming from underneath the wheel arches and did the emergency services want him to sort it out," said Ms Knight.

He was told not to go near the vehicle. The guard later discovered that Richards had been on his wing at Parc Prison and, after being released last August, was living close by.

"There was a fear that there was deliberate targeting by the defendant who had found out where the guard was living," said Ms Knight.

Richards denied any knowledge of the guard's address when he appeared in the dock.

Judge John Curran made an order under the Mental Health Act 1983 for Richards to be kept indefinitely at Heatherwood Court, Pontypridd.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 29, 2010
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