Saturday, January 25, 2014

Man threw tin of mushy peas at woman before starting fire after being thrown out of pub

A man who hurled a tin of mushy peas at a woman’s head before trying to set fire to a pub that he had just been barred from has been spared jail. Ricky-Lee Benson from Nelson, Lancashire, threw the can at Katrina Smith, leaving her with a gashed head after she confronted him about downing her drink in the Station Hotel in Nelson. Benson, 29,  had been thrown out moments earlier by the landlady when he lit a 2ft high fire by a side door which had to be stamped out by police. He was so drunk he had no recollection of either offence but admitted the assault and attempted arson.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Benson had no money and was going around tables stealing drinks from customers on September 26th. He downed a drink at the bar which belonged to Ms Smith, who had been delivering a wedding cake for a friend at the hostelry. When Ms Smith returned and found her drink gone, she confronted the defendant and tried to walk him to the bar to buy her another. But an argument broke out and Benson became “abusive and aggressive”. Miss Emma Kehoe prosecuting, said landlady Angela Bibby stepped in and told the defendant to leave and barred him. But the defendant was heard to reply: “Watch me. I’ll be back”. As he left, he picked a tin of mushy peas from his bag and hurled it towards Ms Smith who was outside.

The can hit her on the head and left her with a gash and an injury to her hand. Paramedics were called and the victim was taken to hospital to have her head glued and a splint put on her hand. Ms Kehoe told the court the police were called out and said: “They immediately saw flames at the door of the emergency exit. There was a small fire but the officers were able to stamp on it to put the fire out.” The fire, lit using discarded material, only damaged the door. Mr Jeremy Coleman defending, said the defendant was “very lightly” convicted with two previous offences. The court was also told he had been making progress over the past 12 months and had responded well to probation.

Sentencing, Recorder Phillip Curran said the offences were serious and called his actions “reckless” for throwing the can. He said: “It was a deliberate act on your part and it was reckless. It hit her on her head and broke some glass and she suffered a cut to her hand. The injuries were nasty.” He continued: “When you were barred from the pub, you went round the back and lit a small fire. This is a worrying aspect of a case like this as it was a pub with people inside. The prosecution accepted you plea to simple arson that you were going to cause damage and no more. The danger was it could have got out of hand and caused more damage.” He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years with a two-year supervision order.

1 comment:

Barbwire said...

Talk about a slap on the wrist! He doesn't remember because he was so drunk from drinking stolen drinks. That's like Mayor Ford of Toronto saying he guessed he had used cocaine (or meth or whatever it was) because he was too bombed to know what he was doing. And he's still mayor.