Burnley homes evacuated after gas blast threats

POLICE
POLICE

A BURNLEY man who threatened to blow himself up, an act which forced a whole street to be evacuated, has been sent to crown court for sentence.

Ryan Hill (25) pleaded guilty at Burnley Magistrates’ Court to causing a public nuisance and threatening to ignite gas pipes on Wednesday, October 17th, in Westgate, Burnley.

Police were alerted to the incident when Hill’s friend rang the police to say he had deliberately started a gas leak in his flat in Westgate and was threatening to kill himself.

Mr Andrew Robinson (prosecuting) told the court that officers failed to gain access to the flat and when they smelled gas ordered that houses 100ft. either side be evacuated.

He said: “This happened around 9-50pm on a wet and windy night resulting in great discomfort for about 15 people, not to mention the danger posed.

“A trained police negotiator was sent to speak to Mr Hill and at 11-20pm he eventually came out of the flat. When police investigated they found that a gas pipe had been severed.”

Mr Danny Fraser (defending) said that his client offered an “unreserved apology” to the emergency services for his actions and gratitude to his friend for calling the police.

He added: “Mr Hill has an issue with alcohol and has recognised mental health issues. When he’s had alcohol he goes into a dark place and has some dark thoughts.

“He was very close to taking his own life and this was a genuine attempt. We can’t get away from how serious this could have been – it could have put other people’s lives in danger too.”

Mr Fraser went on to say that his client is now working and read a positive reference from his employer. He added that Hill now keeps a drinking diary and that the incident had been “an eye-opening” experience for him.

However, magistrates deemed the offence was too serious to be dealt with by them and released Hall on bail to return to Burnley Crown Court on December 14th for sentencing.