See thick black smoke billowing after North Shields pensioner's arson at marital home

Thick black smoke billows across a Tyneside street after an arsonist pensioner set fire to his marital home.

On August 29 last year, Peter Brearey's wife left home to visit him at Cramlington Hospital, where he was receiving oxygen for cardiopulmonary disease. She spoke to nurses and social workers about concerns she had about changes in his behaviour.

She was told Brearey had left the hospital and she got a text from him asking where she was. He went to their three bedroom home on Banbury Way, North Shields, and shortly after he got there a neighbour driving past saw him standing outside next to a fire which had been set at the side of the property and was spreading and approaching one of the doors.

Sue Hirst, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: "The witness spoke to the defendant and asked what he was doing. He didn't reply.

Peter Brearley, jailed for arson
Peter Brearley, jailed for arson -Credit:Northumbria Police

"The neighbour parked his car and he turned around to see the front of the house was beginning to catch fire. By this stage, other neighbours had begun to gather in the street.

"The witness asked where his wife was and he said he didn't know. Some people tried to gain access to the property and the fire service then attended."

Arson damage caused by Peter Brearley
Arson damage caused by Peter Brearley -Credit:Northumbria Police

Brearey was arrested and was found to be in possession of a lighter. Miss Hirst said: "There's footage of the fire showing thick black smoke."

The court heard the fire was likely to have been started in an area where there were some wheelie bins and rubbish.

Arson damage caused by Peter Brearley
Arson damage caused by Peter Brearley -Credit:Northumbria Police

Brearey's wife said in a victim impact statement: "I feel very insecure and unsafe following the damage to my property. I don't want him back at the address, I don't know what he is capable of.

"This has scared me. I could have been trapped in the house and burned in it."

Brearey pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and was jailed for 28 months.