Hotel staff pulled a man from the bed he set on fire at the Swindon Hotel

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A man has been jailed for six years after setting his bed on fire while staying at a hotel in Swindon, putting his own life and the lives of others at risk.

Clive Gonsalves, 36, was found guilty of arson and criminal damage by Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday October 20 and jailed for six years after the incident at the Great Western Hotel in April.

Gonsalves, who was homeless, had been housed in a hotel by Swindon Borough Council during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the night of April 6, Gonsalves called the ambulance service.

One crew responded, but was found to be in good physical health and received support and information for further services.

But in the early hours of April 7, Gonsalves set his bedding or mattress on fire, setting off the fire alarms.

Staff responded quickly and found Gonsalves lying on his bed. He was dragged from his room to the parking lot for safety reasons where the staff and Gonsalves were assessed by the ambulance crew. The room was completely destroyed.

When sentencing Gonsalves, His Honor Judge Jason Taylor KC told him, “You have put yourself and others in danger, and I fear you have demonstrated the ability to cause significant harm. It was only by luck that there were no further injuries.

Gonsalves must serve four of those six years in prison before he can apply for parole, but that will require an assessment before release.

He would also be required to pay a victim surcharge (amount not yet disclosed).

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