Fireraiser who wrecked six cars jailed for two years

A fireraiser who set a parked camper van alight while a man was asleep inside has been jailed for almost two years.

Euan Walker, 29, set fire to six vehicles within just days of each other – and deliberately let a yacht drift out to sea.

Walker caused thousands of pounds worth of damage during the four-day wrecking spree in Musselburgh earlier this year.

He untied a boat from the harbour and let it drift out to the North Sea, just “to see what would happen”.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that Damien Witowski was in bed in the camper van when a passer-by noticed smoke billowing from the vehicle just after midnight on March 20.

They contacted the fire service and the blaze was quickly put out.

Walker appeared in court yesterday, where prosecutors said Mr Witowski “had actually slept throughout the incident”. Walker pleaded guilty to charges of wilful fireraising, wilful fireraising to danger of life, and reckless behaviour at a previous hearing and stood in the dock yesterday for sentencing after it had been deferred for reports.

He also admitted untying the boat, The Sea Safari, to “let it go out to sea and see what would happen”. The boat was retrieved by the local lifeboat.

The court heard at the time of the incidents, which took place between March 16-20, Walker was living in Musselburgh. However, he had recently been living with his parents in Trinity.

The court heard how Walker had started the fires at the front of each vehicle and when police questioned him about his actions, he became tearful and admitted he did bad things when he was drunk.

He also admitted letting the boat free.

Lily Prais, defending, told Sheriff Fiona Tait that Walker had turned to alcohol and drugs after separating from his girlfriend and was struggling to come to terms with his behaviour.

Sheriff Tait said given the nature of charges and, in particular, the charge involving the camper van which Mr Witowski had “fortunately escaped” a custodial sentence was inevitable.

Walker was sentenced to imprisonment for 20 months.

Police Scotland Chief Inspector Matt Paden, East Lothian area commander, said: “Walker’s reckless behaviour put lives at risk and caused significant damage to people’s property.

“It also caused the unneccessary use of emergency service resources, which could have been used elsewhere to help others.

“In response to these incidents being reported, increased patrols were put in place in the area and Walker was apprehended in the act by two officers.

“We welcome this sentence and hope that it sets an example to others that this behaviour will not be tolerated by police or the courts.”

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk