An arsonist who started two fires close to oxygen tanks and MRI scanners at Medway Maritime Hospital has been jailed for life.
Luke French entered the hospital grounds in September 2018 and started the fires less than a metre away from lorries containing the scanners.
The 29-year-old, of Peregrine Drive, Sittingbourne, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered and was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday 5 July 2019.
The court heard that at around 10pm on 5 September Luke French walked onto the hospital grounds and set rubbish being stored in an outdoor cage alight. A nearby wheelie bin was also set on fire.
The bins were less than a metre away from two mobile MRI scanners that were being stored in articulated lorries and close to oxygen tanks.
A member of hospital staff was quick to the scene and extinguished the fire before it caused significant damage to the bins or medical equipment.
Security officers then chased French away from the vicinity and, following an area search, Kent Police officers detained him at around midnight.
CCTV evidence clearly captured French committing the offence and he was charged the following day. He has been remanded in custody since his arrest and must serve a minimum of five years in prison.
Police Constable Dennigan Tyson, Kent Police’s investigating officer for the case, said: ‘Although no injuries were caused from this offence, French’s reckless actions needlessly endangered a huge amount of lives and the consequences could have been much more severe were it not for the quick actions of hospital staff.
‘In addition to the immediate danger of the fire, lifesaving medical equipment worth over £1,000,000 could easily have been damaged and this would have caused a huge amount of disruption for medical staff and people needing the equipment.
‘French’s actions prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that he presents a very real threat to public safety and the strong sentence imposed by the courts means he is no longer a danger.’