Man who threatened to set fire to police officers jailed for four years — (The Argus)

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The Argus

By Nigel Freedman

Jan 24, 2008, 3:36pm today

An alcoholic who poured diesel over police officers and told them ‘I am going to burn you’ has been jailed for four years.

Anthony Tieman, 46, also poured the fuel over two patrol cars and then pulled out a lighter.

The incident happened after the officers were called to a domestic incident at Tieman’s home.

It was only because diesel is hard to ignite that a catastrophe was avoided.

Sentencing Tieman at Hove Crown Court a judge praised the bravery of the five officers.

Officers were called to Tieman’s home in Becket Lane, Langley Green, Crawley, on July 15 last year.

He had assaulted a neighbour and his own partner and smashed up some of her belongings.

Tieman threw a deckchair over his back garden fence and then emerged with a can of diesel fuel.

As more officers with riot shields arrived Tieman shouted: “I am going to burn you.”

He threw diesel over PCs Duncan Mitchell, Dean Bagwell, Leanne Henery and two squad cars.

They were hit in the mouth, face and eyes and their uniforms were also splashed with the fuel.

Michael Orsulik, prosecuting, said: “He held a cigarette lighter to one of the police cars.

“A flame was seen as he clearly tried to set light to one of the vehicles.

“At that point police officers with shields rushed at the defendant.

“They managed to handcuff him after a struggle and he was arrested for the attempted murder of three police officers.”

Tieman later pleaded guilty to attempted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

He also admitted assaulting his neighbour and his partner and damaging her CDs and a mobile phone.

Tieman told police he was an alcoholic who drank two to three litres of strong cider a day.

He also takes anti-depressants for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Orsulik added: “He said he picked up diesel and not petrol because it is not as flammable.

“He said he just wanted to scare people but not to injure them.

“He said he was sorry for what he had done and understood that the police would have been scared.

“The officers, particularly those who had diesel poured over them, described themselves as traumatised.”

Kenneth Carr, defending, said Tieman was taking the anti-depressant Seroxat at the time.

One of its known side-effects can be to make those who take it more aggressive than they would usually be.

An expert agreed that Tieman could have been affected by a combination of his medication and his drinking.

Mr Kerr said Tieman has since changed his medication and is addressing his drink problem.

He added: “He is now a completely changed man who recognises he has committed grave and serious offences.

“He wants me to apologise to everyone concerned and is genuinely remorseful.

“He says ‘My behaviour was utterly disgraceful and I know that I must have terrorised the officers at the time’.”

Judge Guy Anthony praised the actions of PCs Dean Bagwell, Duncan Mitchell, Leanne Henery, Amanda Hennigan and Julie Montague.

He recommended they receive bravery commendations from Martin Richards, chief constable of Sussex Police.

PCs Mitchell and Bagwell have already received divisional congratulations for their actions.

At the time of the incident Detective Sergeant Steve Boyle said: “You would be hard-pressed to find braver officers.

“They knew if they were set alight they would be seriously injured.”