A PARANOID schizophrenic tried to set fire to a stranger's house while a couple and baby were sleeping, a court heard.

A judge warned the consequences could have been ‘catastrophic’ after a cannister of accelerant and lit tapers were thrown through the window of the home in Lodge Street, Accrington.

Mohammed Sajid Hussain, 35, of Whalley Road, Accrington, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered after the incident in August 2015.

Prosecuting at Burnley Crown Court Isobel Thomas said Philip Kenrick, his partner and her daughter, who was almost two-years-old, were asleep when he heard the sound of a window being smashed downstairs.

She said: “As a result of hearing that smash Mr Kenrick got out of bed went downstairs and found a black petrol can in the rear kitchen with a lit piece of paper.

“The rear kitchen window had been smashed and he heard the gate of his property close. He threw a pan of water over the lit flame to extinguish it then called the police.

“At the back of his property he discovered a long handle axe and two further paper tapers which smelt like accelerant.”

The court heard police found a glove in nearby Windsor Street and DNA particles on it matched those on the handle of the axe while the other glove was found at Hussain’s home.

In a victim impact statement read to the court Mr Kenrick said he did not feel safe in his own home and the biggest consequence had been that his nine-year-old son from a previous relationship had stopped coming to his home. He said his partner had argued the arson meant his son would not be safe there.

The court heard Hussain had one caution for affray but no previous convictions.

Defending Hussain, Alexander Rostron, said at the time he was paranoid about people that lived near and worked with him.

He said: “He held down a job for many years and did not come to the attention of the courts, authorities or medical care professionals.

“He did not know the address or the complainant. I can’t offer any insight into the offence itself save for what we know about the condition he was suffering.”

Judge Sarah Dodd said while he had been in custody it had become apparent he was suffering from mental illness either schizophrenia or paranoid schizophrenia.

Ordering him to be detained under S37 of the Mental Health Act, she said: “The consequences mercifully were very limited but these consequences could have been catastrophic.”