A MAN who set fire to his accommodation because he wanted to speak to a manager “was found sitting on his sofa" after the fire brigade forced their way into his apartment, a court has heard.

Jake Coare set fire to a stove at his accommodation in Elizabeth Way last August when he was told he could only speak to a senior member of staff during an emergency.

The defendant, now of Bellona Way, Colchester, then started the fire and said “there’s a fire, now you can get the manager out”.

Police, ambulance, and the fire brigade attended the scene and had to force entry to the apartment where they found Coare, 29, sitting on the sofa.

Concern – Colchester Magistrates' Court heard Jake Coare was having difficulties with other residentsConcern – Colchester Magistrates' Court heard Jake Coare was having difficulties with other residents (Image: Daniel Rees, Newsquest)

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday how Coare was then sectioned under the mental health act and he later admitted one charge of arson.

Sharon Hall, prosecuting, said: “Prior to him starting the fire, he spoke to staff and hadn’t been happy about staying there.

“He asked to speak to the manager.

“Staff said he was very demanding and constantly trying to deal with his issues.

“It culminated with them saying the manager can only be contacted off during an emergency if there is a fire or death.

“He then set fire to a stove in his apartment.”

Coare also told emergency services when they arrived that he wanted to end his life.

Mrs Hall continued: “There is some planning, but there was little planning – it does seem it was opportunistic given what was going on.

“His culpability is reduced by what he was going through at the time.”

Frank O’Toole, mitigating, said: “He has been diagnosed with autism and emotionally unstable personality disorder, and a history of recurrent depressive episodes.

“He felt hard done by as a result of the accommodation he was provided with.

Punishment – Jake Coare left court with a community orderPunishment – Jake Coare left court with a community order (Image: Daniel Rees, Newsquest)

"He made demands he needed to be moved.

“Foolishly, he came to the conclusion that in order to do that he set fire to his flat.

“He apologises to the housing agency.”

Coare was sentenced to an 18-month community order which requires him to complete 30 rehabilitation days.

He must also pay £300 in compensation and a further £200 in costs.

Want to read all the Gazette’s crime, court, and inquest coverage in one place? Join our Colchester & Tendring Crime and Court News Facebook group.