Man jailed for dousing police officers in petrol

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Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Justin Jackson doused the officers during disorder as police tried to arrest a youth riding a stolen motorbike

A man who doused eight police officers with a watering can full of petrol and left them fearing for their lives has been jailed.

Justin Jackson, 28, doused the officers in the flammable liquid during disorder in Basildon, Essex on 5 May.

One officer said that he remembered thinking at the time “we could all go up in flames here like Roman candles”.

Jackson, of Ward Close, was jailed for three years and nine months at Basildon Crown Court.

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He had admitted eight counts of administering a noxious substance with intent to cause injury at an earlier hearing.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Justin Jackson was jailed at Basildon Crown Court

Prosecutor Joe Bird told the court that disorder had broken out as police tried to arrest a youth riding a stolen motorbike and people interfered with attempts to arrest him.

During this disorder, Jackson “armed himself with a watering can full of petrol” then “brings it to the scene and sprays officers with it”, Mr Bird said.

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Temporary Supt Jonathan Baldwin said: “At the time of the incident while being covered with petrol I remember thinking ‘we could all go up in flames here like Roman candles’.”

He added: “It was one of those days I realised I might not have got home at all.”

Alison Gurden, defending, said Jackson had written a letter of apology in which he said: “I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve done and I can only imagine the fear they felt.”

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Police released aerial footage of the disorder

Judge Samantha Cohen said Jackson did it to prevent them from making arrests.

She said: “Initially some (of the officers) thought they were splashed with a disfiguring acid or bleach, but when they smelled it was petrol they feared they would be set alight.”

Meanwhile, Jackson’s mother Janine Justin, 47, of Ward Close, was given a suspended nine-month prison sentence after being found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

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The court heard she had threatened police officers with a hammer during the disorder.

After the sentencing, Supt Baldwin said that “to say that it does not have an effect on us is incorrect”.

“We have had a lot of support from the organisation and colleagues and specialists to help us,” he said.

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