EXETER, England — An Anti-Semitic extremist who set fire to a British synagogue — and, partly, to himself — has been sentenced to remain in a hospital indefinitely, CNN reports. Tristan Morgan, 52, was seen on CCTV footage setting fire to a synagogue in Exeter, England, last July with a flammable liquid.
Video shows his plan backfiring when fire burst from the synagogue, burning his forehead and hands and singeing his hair. Morgan was then seen looking amused as he walked off holding a gas can.
“He appeared to be laughing, while trying to flatten his hair,” prosecutor Alistair Richardson said Friday at Morgan’s London trial.
The Independent reports that Morgan was soon arrested and told officers, “Please tell me that synagogue is burning to the ground; if not, it’s poor preparation.”
Indeed, court testimony described a scary stretch in which firefighters battled a “severe” fire in a room with a flammable gas boiler.
“It is only by sheer chance that the synagogue was empty and indeed that Morgan himself sustained only minor burns,” said a police superintendent. An amateur folk singer, Morgan admitted to arson and encouraging terrorism by publishing a song online called “White Man.”
Richardson said the defendant holds a “deep-rooted anti-Semitic belief” and was obsessed with “abhorrent anti-Semitic material.” (A Florida school principal told a mother that the Holocaust is “a belief.”)