Deprecated: Function session_register() is deprecated in /home/sites/ on line 88 Blackpool's Donna's Dream House fire: Two youths detained
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Blackpool's Donna's Dream House fire: Two youths detained

  • 4-30-2013

Two 19-year-olds who admitted setting fire to a holiday home for terminally ill children have been detained at a young offenders institution.

Police said Cairn Major, of Tyldesley Avenue, Blackpool, set fire to Donna's Dream House in Blackpool to cover up burgling it on 21 December 2011.

He was sentenced to five-and-a-half years detention at Preston Crown Court for arson and two counts of burglary.

Jason Baxendale, of Blackpool, was given 32 months' detention for arson.

Baxendale, of Granville Avenue, pleaded not guilty to two counts of burglary and the CPS offered no evidence in court.

£100,000 damage

Lancashire Police said Baxendale had acted as "lookout" during the robbery and did not enter the property.

Items stolen in the burglary included several cameras, projectors, CCTV monitors, laptops and phones.

The blaze, estimated to have caused more than £100,000 damage, destroyed the office, hot tubs and sauna at the site and forced the charity home to close for almost three months.

The founder of Donna's Dream House, Len Curtis, said it was a relief the case was over.

He set up the charity in 1999 in memory of his daughter Donna, who died of cancer in 1996 at the age of 20.

Mr Curtis said: "Although we have had tremendous support, it has taken its toll on us as a family."

Det Con Phil Palmer said he hoped the sentences made the offenders realise the impact of their actions.

"The break-in and subsequent fire caused the charity a serious setback and prevented very ill children and their families from enjoying a holiday together," he said.

"These holidays are precious to these families and are something that cannot be replaced."

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2013 BBC

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