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Man is detained in hospital for Hellifield bomb threat
A man has been sentenced to a Hospital Order under the Mental Health Act for sparking a major alert in which he threatened to blow himself up.
Two armed response teams were deployed to Hellifield, near Skipton, on December 21 last year after Leon Szpitter told the police he had strapped petrol bombs to himself and would detonate them.
The nine-hour incident led to 18 homes being evacuated and the closure of the A65 between Skipton and the village.
Szpitter, 30, pleaded guilty at Bradford Crown Court last month to threatening to cause criminal damage with intent to endanger life. He was brought to the dock flanked by hospital staff and returned to Lynfield Mount hospital in Bradford after the short hearing.
His barrister, Giles Bridge, said he was fit to plead and the case was adjourned for further medical reports.
Yesterday Szpitter was sent back to hospital by Judge Robert Bartfield.
The judge made his ruling after hearing from a psychiatrist about Szpitter’s mental state. It is believed he had a long history of mental problems.
Szpitter rang the police late on December 21 stating he had made petrol bombs and attached them to himself.
He threatened to detonate them if he heard anyone on the premises.
His threat was taken very seriously because of the state of his mental health.
Szpitter was alone in the mid-terrace home where he lived, in East View, Hellifield, when he made the call.
A police negotiator was contacted and officers, gas engineers and fire officers went to the scene.
Szpitter repeatedly said he was going to blow up the house during the incident which involved 46 police officers.
It was not until 8am the following day, after a night of extensive negotiations, that he came out of the property and into police custody.
He told police he could remember little about the incident and blamed his medication.