Man 'who could not sleep' faces jail for setting fire to mattress in Edinburgh flat

A man who set fire to his bedroom because he could not sleep is facing a prison sentence.

Thursday, 13th June 2019, 4:32 pm
Walter Moss appeared from custody at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: TSPL

Walter Moss set light to a mattress at a residential block of flats housing mental health patients in Edinburgh earlier this year.

Moss, 32, fled the property after starting the blaze and was found standing outside in the facility’s car park by a warden.

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Residents suffering from various mental health problems had to be removed from their flats in Bolton Place, in Niddrie.

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Moss, c/o HMP Edinburgh, later told police officers he had set the fire “because he could not sleep” and suffered from mental health problems.

Firefighters were forced to use breathing apparatus to enter the building and extinguish the flames.

Moss appeared from custody at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today where he pleaded guilty to wilfully setting fire to a mattress and bedding at his home on January 17 this year.

Prosecutor Lorna Ferrier told the court Moss set fire to his flat at around 8.20am and after lighting the bedding he calmly collected some of his belongings and made his way out to the car park.

Moss was said to have been unconcerned by the smoke pouring from his property and told the on-duty warden “he was just going for a coffee”.

The warden ordered him to stay in the car park before he entered the building to raise the alarm and remove the seven other residents who were still in bed within their homes.

The fiscal added Moss had subsequently been examined by a psychiatrist and was found not to have been suffering from any mental illness at the time of the fire attack.

Moss’s solicitor said his client had been previously diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and had been recalled on licence following the wilful fire raising incident.

Sheriff Donald Corke deferred sentence to later this month for the preparation of reports.

Moss admitted wilfully setting fire to a mattress and bedding causing smoke damage and resulting in properties being evacuated.