This is the terrifying moment a neighbour set his neighbours’ home alight while a couple and their two autistic sons slept inside.
Isaac Brooks, 54, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, was caught on CCTV as he poured petrol down the family’s tumble dryer vent before setting it alight – causing part of the house to go up in flames.
Father-of-two Dave Beaver, 46, was woken by the sound and battled through thick smoke to save his wife Bev, 54, and their sons Chris, 27, and Adam, 25, who both have severe autism.
The blaze was initially blamed on faulty appliances but Bev and Dave’s suspicions were aroused when they spotted the wires to the CCTV camera outside their home had been cut.
Brooks was also heard singing the lyrics ‘burn baby burn’ from Disco Inferno days after the fire.
This is the terrifying moment Isaac Brooks, 54, was caught on CCTV as he poured petrol down the family’s tumble dryer vent before setting it alight – causing the house to go up in flames
Dave Beaver, 46, was woken by the sound and battled through thick smoke to save his wife Bev, 54, and their sons Chris, 27, and Adam, 25, pictured together, who have severe autism
Brooks was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of arson with intent to endanger life and criminal damage at Bolton Crown Court on Friday.
Speaking following the conviction, Mrs Beaver told how she believes Brooks had harboured a deep-rooted dislike for her sons, who both have Fragile X syndrome, a severe form of autism with learning delays.
Brooks was sentenced to 10 years in prison at Bolton Crown Court on Frida
‘This was a quiet street for many years,’ she said. ‘All the neighbours got on and children played out happily.
‘Then Brooks moved in. Within days, he was playing music at full blast with all his windows open. This was at all hours of the night.
‘I work shifts at Royal Bolton Hospital and this situation was getting out of hand.
‘We and several other residents complained to police and the council. We all had to fill in complaint diaries, but it seemed so hopeless. We were being bullied in our own homes and there was nothing we could do about it. We felt powerless.’
She continued: ‘We had eggs thrown at our house and cars, white gloss paint emptied across our decking and shouts of “f*****g inbred”, “r****d” and “I’m going to burn you all out”.
‘We couldn’t close the curtains for fear of something dreadful happening. I couldn’t sleep and ended up on antidepressants. I was at the end of my tether. Then the fire happened, and all our fears became a reality.’
The chilling CCTV footage shows a man climbing over a fence at the rear of the house before pouring a petrol-like substance through a tumble dryer vent.
He sets it alight before fleeing the scene as the blaze takes hold inside the kitchen.
Mr Beaver was woken by a sound and, believing it might be an intruder, went downstairs to investigate.
The chilling footage shows a man climbing over a fence at the rear of the house before pouring a petrol-like substance through a tumble dryer vent
An estimated £30,000-worth of contents were destroyed and the family was forced to move out for three months while repairs were carried out
When Brooks’ home was searched by police, plastic bottles containing lawnmower fuel were discovered. Pictured: the aftermath of the fire
He opened the kitchen door to be met with a wall of thick black smoke and intense heat.
Fearless Mr Beaver battled through the intense heat and thick black smoke to rescue his two stepsons and his wife. He even ran back into the blazing home to rescue the family Labrador, Marley.
At first, a faulty tumble dryer was thought to have caused the blaze, but the family became suspicious three days later when they discovered wires to their CCTV system had been cut.
Forensic investigators retrieved footage from their partially damaged CCTV system, which captured what really happened.
When the couple saw the footage, they immediately recognised Brooks.
Mrs Beaver continued ‘I noticed the CCTV wires had been cut. I knew it was Brooks. I had an instinct and I was right. We could’ve been killed.’
Fearless Mr Beaver (pictured left) battled through the intense heat and thick black smoke to rescue his two stepsons and his wife (pictured right)
Mother-of-two Mrs Beaver told how Brooks took a dislike to her two autistic sons, Chris, 27, and Adam, 25, and hurled insults and threats at the two whenever he saw them
An estimated £30,000-worth of contents were destroyed and the family was forced to move out for three months while repairs were carried out.
The court heard last week heard they had known each other for around seven years and that there had been a number of disagreements.
Brooks would regularly shout abusive comments at the family, mostly directed at the two sons, the court heard.
On February 14, just days after the fire, Brooks was heard singing ‘burn baby burn, disco inferno’.
When his home was searched by police, plastic bottles containing lawnmower fuel were discovered.
At first, a faulty tumble dryer was thought to have caused the blaze, but the family became suspicious three days later when they discovered wires to their CCTV system had been cut
The family say Brooks would throw eggs and white paint at their home, and would shout ‘f****ing inbred’, ‘retard’ and threatened to burn their house down
Defending, Kevin Liston, said the offence was ‘out of character’ and was borne out of substance misuse.
He said Brooks had been using drugs since he was 10 but had sought assistance while in custody following his arrest.
Brooks appeared before a judge via video link on Friday morning to be sentenced.
Bolton Crown Court heard Brooks had 37 convictions for more than 80 offences.
The couple believe Brooks appeared to have a deep-rooted prejudice towards disabled people after targeting other people on their street
Judge Martin Walsh handed him an extended sentence in light of the ‘significant risk of harm’ he posed to the public.
Sentencing him, Judge Walsh said: ‘This was a serious intended arson attack upon an innocent family who were fast asleep at their home address.
‘Leading up to the attack, you had shouted abusive comments at the family, directed to the two children, because of their learning difficulties.
‘It was a pre-meditated attack and there was a significant degree of planning. The victims were vulnerable and multiple people were endangered by your actions. It is by sheer good fortune that no one was killed.’