A MAN who set fire to a house in Dartmouth was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, a judge has been told.

Jai Griffiths started a fire at his family home in Davis Road on December 9 last year, leading to a major response from the fire and rescue services.

He admitted arson, being reckless whether live was endangered earlier this month and has now undergone a preliminary assessment by two psychiatrists at Langdon Hospital in Dawlish.

Griffiths, aged 36, appeared before Recorder Mr Richard Stead at Exeter Crown Court by video link from Exeter Prison and was made subject of a 12-week interim Hospital Order which will result in his transfer to Langdon within the next 28 days.

He will then be assessed with a view to a full Hospital Order being made at a later hearing.

The judge said: 'He was suffering from a mental disorder which I am told is paranoid schizophrenia. I am satisfied he is suitable for an interim order and that an appropriate hospital order may be made in the future.'

Giving evidence by video link from Langdon, consultant psychiatrists Dr Derek Marshall and Dr Anil Mohandas recommended the interim order under section 38 of the Mental Health Act.

Dr Marshall said: 'The order is necessary so we can get a better understanding from Mr Griffiths about his state of mind in early December and to make an assessment of dangerousness.'

Dr Mohandas said the process of transferring Mr Griffiths to Langdon and assessing him could only start after the hospital received confirmation of his guilty plea.

The fire was put out by thee Devon Fire and Rescue Service but nobody was hurt despite large amounts of smoke seen billowing from first floor windows.

The homeowner’s daughter Lucy Griffiths posted a picture of the damage with a gofundme appeal for help at the time which has so far raised £1,380.

She wrote: 'Hello my name is Lucy and I have started this fundraiser to help my father. He has lived in Dartmouth all his life and this morning he had an awful house fire. He has lost absolutely everything.

'I'm sure you can understand how devastating this is for him and for us as a family, especially this close to Christmas. I was hoping that together, we could raise some money for him, and ease a little of the huge financial burden he now faces.'