A MAN who started a £25,000 blaze which forced a family to flee for their lives from their burning home in the early hours, has been detained in hospital.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Imran Saddique, 43, torched the mid-terrace home he sometimes shared with his ex-girlfriend, who was the tenant, on Heap Street, Burnley.

The flames spread to the house next door where her landlord Sadiq Miah lived with his wife Fahima and their two children were asleep.

Around a dozen homes had to be evac-uated after the fire ignited a gas pipe.

Saddique, said to have previously threat-ened to burn the houses down, was outside and was arrested shortly after, but had very little recollection of what had happ-ened. The defendant, now receiving treat-ment for a severe psychotic disorder, admitted arson being reckless as to wheth-er life was endangered on February 8.

Judge Jonathan Gibson made a hospital order with a restriction order and said the restriction order was necessary to protect the public from serious harm.

Mark Lamberty, prosec-uting, said Saddique's former partner went to stay with a friend overnight. He would sleep on the settee.

At about 6am, he set light to the house and there were fires in different couches in the front room.

Mr Lamberty said the landlord next door was awoken by a fire alarm in his own house and led his wife and two children to safety. The defendant was at the back of his ex-girl-friend's house and appear-ed to be coming out with two bags of rubbish. The landlord called the police.

Officers arrived at about 6.30am, saw Saddique and asked him what had gone on. He told them he had been in the house and had been messing about light-ing paper. He said it was his fault. The defendant smell-ed of smoke.

The prosecutor contin-ued: “There was a consid-erable amount of damage to both houses — £25,000. The neighbour at the other side had to leave her house with two young children, as well.” Saddique had a prev-ious conviction for robbery.

Dr Karen Norrington-Moore, a consultant foren-sic psychiatrist, told the hearing Saddique was suff-ering from a severe psych-otic disorder.

She said he was currently a medium secure unit pat-ient, was receiving anti- psychotic drugs and there had been great improve-ments now he was on medication. The doctor said the defendant's mental disorder was “likely to be life-long and chronic.”

Judge Gibson told the defendant: “There was con-siderable risk to the lives of other people."

He said Saddique had been transferred to Guild Lodge, Preston, from rem-and in prison and his symptoms appeared to have improved.