A BASINGSTOKE man who wanted to kill himself by setting fire to the flat he lived in caused £275,000 worth of damage.

Dean Puttock, 37, had set fire to a combustible material in his third-floor apartment on Netherfield Place, Priestley Road, on April 6, this year.

He had to be rescued by the fire service out of the six-storey building after flames were seen coming from his lounge window.

Puttock was arrested and told officers he had planned to take his own life after a relationship breakdown which sparked a “terrible blip” in his life.

On Monday Winchester Crown Court heard that Puttock had been due to be sentenced for arson, but concerns were raised about his need for mental health support.

Mark Ashley, prosecuting, said: “It is right to note there has been a number of calls and attempts for him to take his own life.

“On April 2 the fire and rescue service had to break into Mr Puttock’s flat after he called the ambulance service to say he had taken an overdose and been sick.”

The court heard that Puttock then posted on social media “I don’t normal post stuff, but people need to know, police just broke down my door. Tomorrow I will be in a police cell or dead. I loved you all.”

He then contacted a friend on Xbox Live saying he was going to kill himself, before telling colleagues on April 6 that he was thinking about taking his own life.

Mr Ashley said: “He only intended to harm himself, didn’t intend to harm others.

“People [neighbours] were concerned, they could see him and smoke behind him. He was clearly going through a time of significant difficulty.”

His Honour Judge Keith Cutler was told that £275,000 of damage was caused to the flats by Puttock’s action.

Defending Adrienne Knight said her client had been in custody at Winchester Prison for six months – since the incident – which is an “unsuitable place for him and he is so unhappy there”.

Basingstoke Gazette: Firefighters rushed to the scene in Priestley Road back in AprilFirefighters rushed to the scene in Priestley Road back in April

She added: “This is a man, 37-years-old with no previous convictions. He has difficulties anyway.

“It is not just one issue has had several issues for most of his life.

“This is a person who has been seriously distressed and unhappy and in serious need of help.”

Judge Cutler said: “You must realise that your actions caused an enormous amount of damage and an enormous amount of upset to other people in the flats.”

He told Puttock that he would be given a community order including rehabilitation days and community payback.

Puttock was previously charged with arson with intent to endanger life and criminal damage, but these charges were dropped, and he pleaded guilty to arson at an earlier hearing.