A MAN who has spent 23 years in prison for setting fire to a pair of curtains in an empty village church was freed yesterday.
David Blagdon was 27 when he carried out the arson attack at St Laurence's church in South Hinksey, Oxfordshire, in 1978. Because he was given a discretionary life sentence, under which an inmate can be kept in prison for as long as they are considered a risk to the public, he has served a longer jail term than most murderers.
The 51-year-old was released yesterday morning from HMP Wayland, near Thetford in Norfolk. His freedom had been delayed for some years by the Parole Board because his behaviour in jail had been "difficult", a prisons source said.
Mr Blagdon committed the offence on the day of his foster mother's funeral and pleaded guilty to arson at Oxford Crown Court. The blaze caused pounds 1,270 of damage. He has since said it was a "cry for help" and that he was at breaking point. The court was told he had a disturbed childhood and had appeared in court on several occasions accused of …