'Hero complex' arsonist put lives at risk after starting flats fire in Hull city centre
A MAN with a "hero complex" could be taken off the streets to protect the public after starting a fire in Hull city centre.
Shane Dobson, 36, set fire to a flat in a three-storey complex, endangering the lives of residents and fire crews, so he could pretend to be a hero.
Dobson, who was jailed previously for killing his baby daughter to win sympathy, even lied to firefighters, claiming children were trapped inside, to force them into the flames.
Detective Constable Richard Mills said Dobson revelled in playing the hero.
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He said: "Dobson is a dangerous person who is always trying to seek attention.
"He has created an incident where he can come across to both members of the public and the emergency services as being both a hero and a victim."
Dobson, who is thought to be suffering from Munchausen by proxy syndrome, was jailed for ten years in October 1997 for the manslaughter of his 21-month-old daughter Ashleigh.
He smothered Ashleigh in 1996 after taking her to hospital on at least eight other occasions as part of his attention-seeking condition.
Hull Crown Court heard Dobson creates dangerous situations to act the hero. Two days before the arson, Dobson had hired himself out as a hitman and attacked Simon Carr at the behest of his victim's estranged partner.
He punched and stamped on Mr Carr, leaving him in intensive care with a collapsed lung.
Dobson then returned to Mr Carr's flat in Clowes Buildings, off New George Street, on January 4 and started a fire inside a wardrobe.
However, instead of calling the emergency services, Dobson attempted to rescue people living in the complex.
When the fire crews arrived, Dobson lied and told them children were in the burning flat before clinging to the door of the flat and refusing to leave.
Firefighter Paul Clappison told the court he had never experienced anything like the problems Dobson had caused in 15 years' service with Humberside Fire and Rescue.
He said: "It was thick smoke and we were conducting a search and then, suddenly, there was a member of the public behind me. I was shocked because we were in there with breathing apparatus to carry out our job. It was beyond belief.
"It is the first time it has ever happened. We tried to get him out so we could get on with our job but he refused. He was clinging on to the door and he wouldn't let go.
"I almost had to punch him in the face to shock him into leaving. We had to physically drag him out."
Dobson, of Holland Street, east Hull, told the jury the firefighters were trying to drag him into the burning flat.
Denying grievous bodily harm with intent and arson with intent to endanger lives, he claimed he was passing the flats when he saw the fire and said he never assaulted Mr Carr.
Prosecutor David Gordon said: "There is a suggestion of a diagnosis of Munchausen by proxy syndrome in which he has a tendency to cause danger to people in order to play the role of the hero and try to rescue them.
"It forms the background of his previous conviction with multiple visits to A&E with the victim of that offence."
A jury of six men and six women found Dobson guilty by a unanimous verdict and Recorder Graham Hyland QC warned Dobson he may be jailed indefinitely.
He told him: "You have been convicted of two very serious offences and you face a substantial prison sentence. I'm not going to pass that sentence until I have read the presentence report on you and further medical reports.
"I'm thinking particularly in terms of an indeterminate sentence under the dangerous provisions."
He called for reports into Munchausen by proxy syndrome to help him reach a decision.
Det Con Mills said Dobson had carried out an unprovoked attacked on Mr Carr, a vulnerable person, before starting the fire.
He said: "The arson was vindictive. He set fire to his victim's flat as he lay in intensive care in hospital.
"He was a danger not just to himself but also to fire officers by refusing to leave the property.
"He probably gained enjoyment for the fire and wanted to be seen as a good Samaritan.
"He told firefighters there were children in the burning flat even though he knew there was no one in there."