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Seven-year-old sets light to home after being grounded

A seven-year-old boy burned down his family home after he was grounded for being naughty, it emerged yesterday.

David Walsh was ordered to stay at home last Friday afternoon by his mother after he had bullied other children in the neighbourhood. But the boy became bored and set fire to a lollypop stick at the kitchen stove which he then carried into the attic of the family's semi-detached home in Hatherley, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. His mother Natasha, 25, was forced to evacuate David and her four other children as the fire took hold and destroyed the roof of the house.

"It has gutted the upstairs and even damaged part of the roof next door," Ms Walsh said, adding that her son had started the blaze because he was upset at being grounded. The fire destroyed the loft and ceiling where she and her children, David, Sharnie, six, Shane, five, and twins Bobbie Ann and Candice, three, have lived for the past three years. Cheltenham District Council is trying to find a new home for the family.