Coronavirus: Man jailed for 5G phone mast arson attack
A man who thought 5G technology was linked to coronavirus was jailed for an arson attack on a telephone pole.
Michael Whitty, 47, set fire to his equipment box in Kirkby after reading the Internet statements about the virus, he heard from Liverpool Crown Court.
The father of three, who had previously admitted the arson, was jailed for three years via videolink by HMP Altcourse.
His defense claimed that Whitty acknowledged that his response was “wrong and disproportionate”.
Judge Thomas Teague QC stated that Whitty’s use of fire lighters aimed to “put the tree out of service.”
The judge said that Whitty, who had 29 previous convictions, including assault and possession of a firearm, had shown real remorse and his charitable work showed a “positive side” for his character.
Simon Christie, accusing, claimed that three people were seen escaping from the fire on the Vodafone tree on Coopers Lane on April 4, but two were not traced.
The cost of the damage was between £ 10,000 and £ 15,000 and the tree was out of service for 11 days.
It was one of 13 attacks on Merseyside’s telephone trees, he heard the court.
Police found lighters, similar to those found on the scene when they searched Whitty’s house on Perimeter Road in Kirkby.
An analysis of his phone revealed research into 5G technology and discussions about chat groups about it.
Photos and videos of other telephones near Liverpool have also been found.
Christie said the defendant believes that the tree he targeted is 5G, although it was unclear if there was any evidence to confirm it.
Andrew Alty, defending, said that Whitty had a sincere view of the trees.
He added: “That view may or may not be correct, time will tell.”
Theories that claim that 5G technology helps transmit coronavirus have been widely condemned by the scientific community.