A man has admitted starting a massive blaze at a block of flats – which was caused after he torched his guitar.
Stefan Kubina, 34, was snared by an eagle-eyed bystander who spotted him covered in soot.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard a neighbour in the block at Richmond Street called 999 after spotting flames coming from Kubina’s top floor flat on February 12 this year.
Depute fiscal Colin Neilson told the court: “The accused took his guitar and set it alight using a lighter. He sat and watched it burn and did not try to put the fire out.
“The fire spread and the accused took his laptop and other items and left the locus.”
Mr Neilson said Kubina had been taking drugs and his guitar “began talking to him”.
He told the court a woman was walking near the flats at around 5.45pm when she saw “thick smoke”. She then contacted the fire service.
He said: “While doing so, she saw Kubina walking away very quickly.
“She saw his face was covered in soot and he was carrying a laptop and other items. She was suspicious of Kubina and took a photograph of him.”
Sheriff Graeme Napier was told Kubina went to Aberdeen Rail Station and told British Transport Police staff he needed to get to Glasgow as his flat was on fire and he had nowhere to stay.
“The officers noted his face and clothing were covered in soot. He was extremely agitated and evasive,” said Mr Neilson.
Detectives were called to the station and matched the picture the woman had taken – arresting him.
Emergency services declared the fire a major incident, the court heard. More than 20 firefighters were called and fire chiefs had to close roads.
The court heard residents were given 30 minutes to gather their belongings – and still have not been allowed back in six months on. Some did not have contents insurance.
Kubina admitted wilful fireraising.
Sheriff Napier said: “I’m going to defer sentencing for a criminal justice social work report.”
Kubina, whose address was given in court as Perth Prison, is to be sentenced on September 9.
Defence lawyer Stuart Beveridge said he would wait until that date to present mitigation to the court.