The owner of a charity house for terminally ill children which was torched and burgled today said he had “closure” after one of the men responsible was detained for more than five years.
Cairn Major, 19, broke in to Donna’s Dream House on Chapel Street on December 21, 2011.
Major, of Tyldesley Road, South Shore, had admitted setting fire to an office at Donna’s Dream House, on Chapel Street, Blackpool, in December 2011, before stealing a TV set and camera from the premises. The fire caused around £110,000 of damage.
He was detained yesterday by Preston Crown Court for five and a half years for arson and burglary.
Today Len Curtis, who set up the charity in memory of his daughter Donna to allow terminally ill children to enjoy a holiday by the sea, said: “I am very, very pleased with the sentence, which I think the judge got 100 per cent right.
“I can put closure to it now; we all can as a family. I think the police and everybody has worked tirelessly on this case to make sure there was a proper result.
“It’s been a very long time coming, and it’s made us all ill over the last couple of weeks in the build-up to the sentencing, especially after the disappointment on Friday (when sentencing was delayed).
“The judge made him squirm in court and made sure he understood what he did at the Dream House. We are all in a very buoyant mood now that we can put this behind us and move forward with what we are doing now.”
Major’s co-defendant Jason Baxendale, 19, of Granville Road, Blackpool, had admitted burglary with intent to steal and was placed on 18 months supervision by Preston Crown Court last Friday.
Preston Crown Court heard Major had set the fire in a bid to destroy fingerprint evidence at the scene.
The court also heard that his crimes took place at a time when he had turned to drink and drugs in an effort to deal with his own personal tragedy – the death of his sister a short time earlier.
Major had been drinking and taking the drug mephedrone. He was ashamed of what he had done.
Det Con Phil Palmer, of Blackpool CID said: “We are satisfied with the sentencing and hope it goes some way in making these offenders realise the impact their actions had. The break-in and subsequent fire caused the charity a serious setback and prevented very ill children and their families from having time out from their day-to-day routines and enjoying a holiday together.
“These holidays are precious to these families and are something that cannot be replaced. Thankfully Donna’s Dream House has been able to re-open and people are once again able to benefit from the help they provide in a time of need.”