An arsonist jailed for life after torching a block of flats in Sussex is back in prison after going on the run and attempting to set fire to a shop.

Edward Macdonald, of Cambridge Road, Eastbourne, was jailed for life in 1996 after appearing at Lewes Crown Court and admitting arson with intent to endanger life.

The court was told he used a pot of paint and unopened mail to start a blaze on a communal staircase while tenants were in their flat in Seaside, Eastbourne. A visitor was injured as he struggled to put it out.

Despite Judge Richard Brown describing Macdonald as “very dangerous” he was sent to an open prison in Norfolk.

But 16 years on, in July, he went on the run while on a work placement and in September tried to burn down a shop in Great Yarmouth.

At Norwich Crown Court he was given an indeterminate sentence to serve alongside his original term.

At the original hearing, Judge Brown said: “The medical reports indicate to me that if you are at liberty you are likely to be very dangerous and put other people’s lives at risk. The only appropriate sentence is one of life imprisonment.”

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