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Dwain Bessant set fire to flat after brother was left in a coma

Dwain Bessant, 43, who was jailed for three years for arson after blowing up his own home in suicide bid

An arsonist has been jailed for blowing up his flat in an attempt to kill himself after his rugby player brother was left in a coma.

Dwain Bessant, 43, caused £30,000 of damage in the suicide bid but survived with severe burns from the blast.

He tried to end his life by setting off an explosion at the property in Talywain, Pontypool, south Wales, when his younger brother Scott, 34, was left unable to walk and talk after being in a coma for six months.

But a court heard he was arrested after cutting the gas pipe to cause the blast which nearly killed his elderly neighbours.   

He appeared at Newport Crown Court where he was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to arson following the incident in December.

His brother Scott, who played for Wales Dragonhearts rugby league team, was found lying next to a bridge in Abersychan on August 13 last year.

He remains in hospital and his family still don’t know what happened to him. 

In a police interview, defendant Bessant said he thought people were ‘out to get him’ and that his life had taken a ‘turn for the worst’ and he didn’t want to continue living.

Prosecutor Gareth James, said neighbours were first alerted to the fire on December 22, when some saw smoke billowing from the flat.

He said one used an axe to try and hammer down Mr Bessant’s door, but it was barricaded from behind.

Rugby player Scott Bessant who played for Wales Dragonhearts rugby league team, before he was found in a coma.

Mr Bessant lying in his hospital bed in a coma. He remians in hospital and is unable to walk and talk. His family still don't know what happened to him.

Rugby player Scott Bessant who played for Wales Dragonhearts rugby league team, before he was found in a coma (left) and in his hospital bed (right)

He told the court: ‘They were able to partially open the door and could see the defendant in the kitchen surrounded by flames and smoke. They were pleading with him to come out of the flat but he wouldn’t do so.’

He said neighbour William Watkins volunteered to go to the flat to try and get him out because he knew him.

Mr James added: ‘They were able to force open the door and persuade the defendant to come forward and they pulled him out of the flat and took him downstairs.’

Mr Bessant was then taken to hospital by ambulance and received treatment for burns to his hands and face.

He was later arrested and in his police interview told officers he had been affected by what had happened to his younger brother, and came to the conclusion that he wanted to kill himself, so started a fire.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Watkins said at the time of the incident he was scared for his wife who is unable to walk and needs mobility scooter.

Since the incident he and his wife have been homeless and have been unable to return to their home to collect their possessions.

He said he ‘felt sorry’ for Bessant as he had shown kindness in the past by offering to drive his wife to visit him in hospital and he watered his tomatoes.

Defence barrister Gareth Williams said his client, who appeared via video link from HMP Cardiff, had members of his family in court who were concerned about the mental state of the defendant, who also threw himself in front of a train after being remanded on bail.

He said: ‘It’s accepted that it was an attempt at self harm and a cry for help but he put others at risk, especially the couple in the downstairs flat who are elderly.

‘They have been big enough to express some sympathy for the defendant and that shows great character. 

 How much can one family take? It’s heart wrenching. We’re just lost words.’

 Dwain Bessant’s brother in law Neil Chere

He added: ‘The family have been dealt a major blow regarding what has happened to Mr Bessant’s younger brother and they are concerned that this has been a trigger for his behaviour.’

Sentencing Judge Daniel Williams said: ‘I am satisfied and that you and the members of your family have been greatly affected by the injuries received by your brother Scott in an unrelated incident. 

‘It’s clear from my judgement you need help and your mental frailties are not helped by your history of heavy drinking and I hope for your sake and everyone’s sake you both seek and get the help you need.’

After the case Neil Chere, Bessant’s brother-in-law, said the family are devastated.

He said: ‘It’s tough for Dwain’s parents as they’ve now lost a son for three years, while the situation around Scott remains unclear.

‘But how much can one family take? It’s heart wrenching. We’re just lost words.’

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