51-year-old Darren John Clements, who was at the centre of a large scale search by Police in East Cowes last month, has been given a suspended sentence after admitting setting fire to his own house and burning more than £1,000 in cash.
On 18th March, Island Echo reported that emergency services had responded to reports of a property fire at a bungalow on Hendy Road in East Cowes. 3 fire engines, paramedics and several Police cars rushed to the address at around 11:25 after it was reported black smoke was billowing out of the family home with fears persons were trapped inside.
It has now been revealed that Clements committed an act of arson by using a blow torch to set fire to a living room carpet, personal documentation and in excess of £1,000 in cash.
By 13:00, a large scale manhunt was launched which involved the National Police Air Service helicopter from Bristol and many WightSAR volunteers. Mr Clements was located by 15:30.
It has transpired that Clements was found inside a campervan on his own driveway, pictured below.
The court heard and accepted that a remorseful Clements suffered with his mental health and had taken to the campervan as a safe place.
Darren Clements first appeared on 20th March and pleaded not guilty, but appearing before the court again earlier this week he admitted the offence of arson.
Magistrates handed down a 12-week prison sentence – suspended for 12 months – and ordered him to pay £85 costs with a £128 surcharge. He has also been made subject to a 6-month restraining order.