A MAN who threatened to set fire to a flat at an Oxford housing estate has been spared jail.

Steven Charlett barricaded himself in an upstairs balcony at the city council-owned property and flicked a lighter while police officers tried to calm him down, a jury was told on Monday.

The 31-year-old of Grays Road, Headington, Oxford, had poured what prosecutors said was flammable liquid on his body and threatened to set fire to himself.

He had denied one count of attempted arson and another count of threatening to destroy or damage property.

Prosecutors said the offences took place on Friday, August 2, last year , when Charlett allegedly made threats that he would burn himself and said ‘I will set myself on fire' to police who had been called to the address.

During the incident Charlett picked up a bottle which was labelled ‘white spirit’ before pouring it over his body, prosecutors said, and also flicked a lighter.

READ AGAIN: A report from the opening of the case on Monday.

After his trial at Oxford Crown Court came to an end today he was cleared of arson but found guilty by the jury of threatening to damage property.

After the unanimous verdicts - which took the jury two hours and 30 minutes to reach - the court heard that Charlett has a number of previous convictions.

Those include offences of arson, disorderly behaviour and battery.

Sentencing, Judge Ian Pringle QC said: "Your behaviour that morning was utterly petulant and incredibly immature."

He was jailed for six months, suspended for 18 months.