A man yesterday admitted setting fire to the sleeping bag of a dozing homeless man.

At the High Court in Glasgow, 52-year-old Graham Moffat pled guilty to attempting to murder Mareks Vilkins just before 2am on August 2, 2018, in East Campbell Street, Glasgow.

Moffat, wearing a distinctive red jacket, was caught on CCTV footage pulling out a lighter and setting the sleeping bag alight, before walking away.

Prosecutor Liam Ewing said: “This took place at a set of steps at the main entrance to the Lodging House Mission.

“Around 10.30pm, Mr Vilkins arrived with the intention of sleeping there for the night. He lay in his sleeping bag with the hood partially covering his head – and fell asleep.”

The court heard that about 1.56am, Mareks was woken by heat, fumes and smoke coming from the bottom of the bag.

He realised it was on fire and managed to unzip it, scramble out and then beat out the fire with his arms.

Ewing added: “There were no flames, only smoke. After putting out the fire, Mr Vilkins went back to sleep.”

Later that morning, he told staff at the mission what had happened and showed them the damaged sleeping bag. They contacted the police.

Read More

Top news stories today

Police viewed video footage of the incident at the mission. As they left and walked along East Campbell Street, they spotted Moffat, who was still wearing the red jacket.

He was searched and had six lighters in his inside jacket pocket.

Defence counsel Sarah Livingstone said: “Mr Moffat, who is also homeless, has a history of schizophrenia.

“He was examined by a psychiatrist who said he was fit to plead and that he was not unfit at the time of the offence.”

Judge Lord Matthews deferred sentence on Moffat for a background report and said: “In view of the current emergency, this will be adjourned until May 26. If we are still in lockdown it may have to be adjourned further.”