Probation for teen who set block of Stirling flats on fire

A TEENAGER who caused a city centre block of flats to be evacuated after setting fire to his bedroom received two years probation.

Matthew Dow (19) had broken down in tears in the dock in Stirling Sheriff Court back in June when details of his offence were read out.

The court at that time heard he had befriended a man at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings who had then begun presenting him and his girlfriend with gifts.

On March 10, however, Dow was confronted in the street by a member of this man’s family, unhappy at the situation, and had run off.

Apparently then getting drunk he returned later to his then home at 19 Bruce Street in Stirling and, after more drinking with a neighbour, went into his own flat where, in an apparent attempt at self harm, he set fire to his own clothing and bedding.

So, we learn later in the article that this boy has severe problems:

The court also heard at the earlier hearing of how Dow had had a difficult life with treatment for leukaemia at the age of five leaving him brain damaged while various doctors also agreed he had borderline personality disorder and some suggested he might also have high functioning autism, or Asperger’s syndrome.

OK. This boy is in AA, where he clearly doesn’t belong, and some nice, normal, sober, serene guy who’s definitely not preying on him (because that wouldn’t happen), starts giving him presents. And a relative of this generous AA member decides to confront the kid… who responds by burning his neighborhood down.

And what does the court decide for him? Psychiatric care?

Handing down the probation term Sheriff Cubie imposed additional conditions that Dow would undertake alcohol counselling and would abide by instructions from his care team.

More AA.