A former Territorial Army soldier had to be “talked down” by police officers after he threw lighter fuel around a house and made threats to burn it down.
During a stand-off at the property in Lister Lane, Bradford, last month, Geoffrey Knipe made references to explosive ordnance devices (EODs) and told a female officer where it was safe to stand in the house.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday how the officer and a colleague tried to persuade Knipe to hand over a cigarette lighter he was holding, but he refused until after he spoke to his mother over a police radio.
Knipe, 36, was then handcuffed and arrested, but even as he was being escorted to the police station he told an officer not to let his then partner back into the house saying: “I’m no mug. I was in the Army. I know what to do with bombs. Just don’t let her back in the house.”
Prosecutor Ewan McLachlan told the court how the incident began after Knipe and Lucy Boldy, with whom he had an on-off relationship, had been in a pub and the defendant believed that some of her comments had “belittled him”.
Knipe went back to the house first, then when Miss Boldy returned home soon after, the front door was locked and the defendant would not let her in.
Mr McLachlan said Knipe began throwing lighter fuel on the walls in the hallway saying: “Look what I’m doing. I’m going to burn the house down.”
Miss Boldy phoned two friends for help, but Knipe shouted abuse at one of them and after pouring more lighter fuel around the doorway he ignited the lighter and waved it around near the door and wall.
Mr McLachlan said fire crews and police attended at the property but Knipe continued to be abusive.
Knipe eventually allowed the female officer to come into the house and during an exchange with her he lit up a cigarette saying he was not stupid and it was safe.
Following his arrest Knipe said he had decided to make Miss Boldy listen by setting fire to the house after pouring lighter fuel and methylated spirits around the rooms.
“He said he intended to use the lighter to set fire to the house and he didn’t know why he didn’t do so,” said Mr McLachlan.
Knipe told officers he had drunk ten pints, but knew exactly what he was doing.
Knipe pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening to destroy or damage property and Judge Jonathan Rose jailed him for 30 months. The judge also made a five-year restraining order which bans Knipe from going within 500 metres of the house in Lister Lane or from contacting Miss Boldy.
Lawyer Anne-Marie Hutton, for Knipe, conceded that he faced an inevitable prison sentence and said he acknowledged how extraordinarily foolish his actions were that night.