A TEENAGER who set fire to the McDonald’s where he worked has been spared jail.
Scott Rapley was sentenced to a supervision order at court yesterday after he was found guilty of arson at a trial held earlier this year.
We are giving you a chance. Grab it with both hands.Chair magistrate Paul Thompson
The 18-year-old, who sobbed in the dock as he was sentenced, was told that custody had been considered due to the seriousness of the crime.
But after reading reports from two psychiatrists, chairman of the magistrates Paul Thompson said Rapley was being given a chance.
Mr Thompson said: ‘This offence is serious and we considered all options.
‘We have searched high and low for the best possible answer, not just for you but for the community too.
‘You will have to come back into the community and it is them we have to protect.
‘We are giving you a chance. Grab it with both hands.’
The court heard that Rapley had been trying to get help for his mental health issues.
His father Peter Rapley said: ‘Scott has made progress.
‘Obviously he can do with more help and throughout his issues, we have striven hugely to enable him to get it.
‘We have pushed as much as a family can to get him help through the NHS.’
As previously reported in The News, during the trial it was revealed that Rapley took a lighter to the West Street branch of McDonald’s in Havant before lighting the fire in a storeroom.
Witnesses said he was acting nervously outside the restaurant after the blaze.
He was later searched by police and a lighter was found hidden in his sock.
He repeatedly denied arson during the trial, which heard Rapley, of Cedar Grove, Havant, had a similar previous conviction.
Magistrates sentenced him to a 24-month supervision order and a requirement to take the Thinking Skills course.
Mr Thompson added: ‘If you break any of the requirements given to you, you will come back to court and face custody.’