Arsonists jailed for tent attack

Joel Harrison, 22
Joel Harrison, 22

Two Doncaster men who set fire to a tent with a naked couple inside have been jailed for over nine years between them.

Joel Harrison, 22, of York Road, Scawthorpe has been jailed for three years and seven months imprisonment, while Gary Beddoes, 29, of Kenneth Avenue, Stainforth, will serve a six year term for the sick attack on the helpless lovers.

Gary Beddoes, 29

Gary Beddoes, 29

Deborah Scott and her partner Carl Holland, 32, were near College Road, between Rowland Place, St James Street and Trafford Way, when the tent was set on fire in the early hours of August 18 last year.

Described as a ‘botched revenge attempt’ by His Honour Judge, Robert Spragg, the attack was a case of mistaken identity.

Ms Scott’s friend Daniel Stewart was sleeping in a nearby tent which also caught fire but he escaped with minor injuries.

Judge Spragg said: “It is clear from both your council that this was a poorly planned revenge attack, the intended victim was Mr Stewart for reasons that have not yet been fully set out.”

Addressing the pair, Judge Spragg, said: “This attack caused extreme physical pain but has also had a significant effect on the victims mental health.”

The court heard that Ms Scott suffers from flashbacks as well as numbness in her fingers, while Mr Holland has become terrified of bright lights.

As the pair tried to escape, they were also assaulted. The couple spent time in a burns unit before recovering in hospital from their extensive injuries.

Prosecuting and Defence Barristers, Pamela Coxon QC and Michael Slater QC had no further comments before Judge Spragg passed his sentence.

He said: “It was obvious that people were inside the tent when you set the fire. A tent offers very little protection from the elements. This lies at the top end in cases of reckless arson.”

Both men had admitted charges of reckless arson with endangerment to life at an earlier hearing.