Hospital arsonist jailed for eight years

An man who set fire to a store room at Crawley Hospital last year and stole £263 from a till in the hospital restaurant has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Thomas Ashcroft, 35, of no fixed abode, was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court today (Wednesday January 23) after pleading guilty to three counts of burglary and three counts of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

The charges related to fires started at the Medway Maritime Hospital, on August 29; the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, on August 30; and the Hilton Hotel, in Sheffield, on July 15.

He asked for eight other matters – including the fire at Crawley Hospital on August 28 and a fire at the Hilton Hotel, in Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal on August 27 – to be taken into consideration.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Lee Whitehead from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Ashcroft put the lives of hundreds of people in danger to steal money to finance his drug habit.

“His actions were not only criminal, but entirely selfish and it has cost thousands of pounds to rectify the damage he has caused.”