Man admits setting fire outside ex partner’s home

Dunfermline Sheriff Court
Dunfermline Sheriff Court

A man admitted starting a fire outside the home of his former partner and putting the occupants in danger.

James Kemp (39), eventually admitted he was responsible but at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Monday there were not proven verdicts for a string of other fires he was accused of starting in Kirkcaldy which saw some vehicles destroyed and others extensively damaged.

Kemp, who had two previous convictions for fire raising, had already admitted to the offence at his former partner’s home, and after trial, the jury delivered not guilty verdicts on the other charges.

He admitted that on October 10 last year at an address in Salisbury Street, Kirkcaldy, occupied by his former partner he culpably and recklessly set fire to a sofa which was leaning against the wall, whereby the fire took effect, destroyed the sofa and he placed the occupants of the house in danger.

Depute fiscal Beverley Adam told the court that Kemp and the victim had been in a relationship for a year but it had ended eight weeks before the offence.

“She had purchased a new sofa suite and put the old one outside the property against the wall to be uplifted,” added the depute.

The woman returned home that night at around 11.35pm and the sofa was undamaged. Ten minutes later a member of the public passed a man matching Kemp’s description. He then passed the victim’s home and saw the sofa was on fire.

“He shouted for assistance from a neighbour and extinguished the fire with water,” said Ms Adam.

“The obvious concern for police officers was that had the fire not been extinguished there would have been serious risk to the occupants.”

The court was told Kemp had denied this offence during two interviews with police but admitted it when questioned a third time.

Kemp also denied being responsible for a series of fires which damaged vehicles in Kirkcaldy over the past year.

The charges were that on January 27 last year at Denburn Yard, Denburn Road, Kirkcaldy, he wilfully set fire to a motor vehicle, causing extensive damage to it and surrounding vehicles.

He denied that on the same day, in Smeaton Road, he wilfully set fire to a motor van and damaged it.

He also denied that on October 9 in Kidd Street, he wilfully set fire to a motorhome and destroyed it.

Kemp further denied that on October 10 at Thornhill Drive, he wilfully set fire to a motor home, which was destroyed in the blaze.

Sheriff Charles MacNair deferred sentence until next month calling for reports including a psychiatric assessment.