Delusional foil-covered conspiracy theorist torches 5G mast ‘to protect himself’

David Patterson, from Gateshead in north-east England, took the extreme action which caused more than £100,000 of damage after reading “delusional” online theories about the technology

David Patterson set fire to the 5G mast in Gateshead in north-east England

A delusional conspiracy theorist set fire to a 5G phone mast after previously covering himself in tin foil to ‘protect himself from their waves’.

David Patterson took the extreme action, which caused more than £100,000 of damage, after reading “delusional” online theories about the “dangers” posed by the technology.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Patterson was suffering a mental disorder at the time and had been adversely influenced by material he had read online.

The 41-year-old set fire to one of the masts in Gateshead in north-east England above a garage, causing between £100,000 and £150,000 damage to the mast, Chronicle Live reports.

The blaze also caused around £15,000 damage to the business in the early hours of June 22 last year.

There was also almost £8,000 of damage to the electrics, more than £1,000 of damage to the alarm and further damage to the plumbing.

The owner of the garage got a call around 4.30am saying the building was on fire but in fact it was the BT-owned mast which had been torched.

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court



She then heard the sound of burning and saw him return to his car.

The court heard the fire caused the garage owner stress and financial problems.

Alec Burns, prosecuting, said a witness who lives nearby was woken around 4am and saw Patterson get out of his car and noted his car registration.

Patterson, who said he called the fire service afterwards, was seen on CCTV climbing over a fence after forcing a padlock.

He stayed in the area and was still there when police turned up to arrest him.

Mr Burns said: “He admitted he set fire to the mast, saying because it was 5G and he believed it was dangerous.”

Tony Davis, defending, said reports showed Patterson was suffering from a “psychotic episode” at the time.

He added: “He said it was a spontaneous thing for him to go and do what he did. “He (previously) covered himself in tin foil surrounded by food in order to wait out in some sort of self-made bunker in his kitchen.”

The court heard Patterson was admitted to a psychiatric hospital the day after the offence and has started taking his medication again and is making good progress.

He told the court: “I know what I did was totally wrong.”

He added that he is aware conspiracy theories are not good for his mind and said: “I just want to spend lovely time with my lovely friends and family.”

Judge Susan Mallett said: “He believed he was protecting his family and others, in reality, from the harm he thinks, in his delusional beliefs, was coming from the aerial.”

“He believed tins and tin foil act as a barrier from the waves he believed he was experiencing from the 5G masts, furthered as it was, that belief, by material that is accessible on the internet that, frankly, feeds beliefs that are widely considered and accepted to be completely delusional.”

The judge adjourned sentence until October 1 for further mental health reports and Patterson was further released on conditional bail.

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