Lawyer dream may be over as student pleads guilty to arson
A Swansea University Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) student’s hopes of a legal career could be over after he set fire to the roof of his flat and then apparently tried to put out the flames with “bottles of urine and a fridge”.
Swansea Magistrates Court heard how the bizarre incident took place after 23 year-old Andre Figueiredo got into a bust-up with his friend after a night out drinking.
Sad that the pal had decided to move away from Wales’ second largest city, Figueiredo is said to have responded by going to the roof of his flat and setting fire to a T-shirt.
The South Wales Evening Post reports that Figueiredo — who completed an economics degree with a 2:1 at Swansea University before commencing the GDL at the same institution last year — then tried to extinguish the flames using “bottles of urine and a fridge”.
Around 4am police officers on patrol in area spotted flames “6ft high” leaping from the roof, the court heard, and saw Figueiredo adding items to the bonfire. The legal hopeful is said to have ignored the officers’ calls to let them into the building.
Eventually, the officers managed to gain access via a back entrance, and apparently found a fully-clothed Figueiredo in bed pretending to be asleep.
In mitigation, the law student’s solicitor, Matt Henson, said his client’s level of regret was “indescribable” and that he accepted he had acted “recklessly and foolishly” in causing £850-worth of damage to the roof.
Henson also explained how Figueiredo had moved to the UK from Brazil as a teenager who spoke no English in 2006 and had gone on to learn the language and excel academically.
But the solicitor appeared to concede that Figueiredo’s hopes of becoming a lawyer were over.
“He wants to secure a career in the law or in the financial services — but these incidents have scuppered those plans,” said Henson. “A conviction for arson on his record is seriously going to dent his prospects.”
The case was then adjourned for two weeks for the preparation of probation reports, with Figueiredo granted bail.
Update — 8 March 1:30pm: Figueiredo given 12-week suspended prison sentence, 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £1,500 to repair the damage.