False accusation ended with fire bombing of couple’s flat

False accusation ended with fire bombing of couple’s flat

A LIVERSEDGE man has been jailed after he threw a home-made petrol bomb at a property. 

James Aykroyd was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol when he decided to make a Molotov cocktail using a plastic drinks bottle, a cloth wick and petrol from a lawn mower.

Leeds Crown Court heard that Aykroyd acted out of frustration after being falsely accused of a previous arson attack which had forced Joseph Ramsden and his partner, Tracy Boothroyd, to move to a new one-bedroom flat in Wyke.

In the early hours of June 17, Aykroyd went to the couple’s home armed with a hammer and attempted to disguise his face using a scarf.

He gave a false name after he knocked on the door to trick Mr Ramsden into opening it and rushed towards the victim.

The court was told that Mr Ramsden managed to wrestle the hammer from him and his partner pulled the scarf from Aykroyd’s face before he fled the scene.

However, while the couple were at a neighbour’s property looking for CCTV footage of the incident, Aykroyd made his improvised petrol bomb and returned before launching it at their front door.

The couple only noticed the fire when they heard smoke alarms going off.

Defence barrister Christopher Dunn explained that Aykroyd had previously been accused of an arson attack by a large number of people, which he wasn’t responsible for.

“That was the catalyst for him saying ‘well if I’m being blamed for it I might as well do it’. It’s insane thinking,” said Mr Dunn.

Aykroyd, of Upper Barker Street in Liversedge, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered. He was jailed for 26 months.

Judge Jonathan Rose said: “If your plan had worked, they would have been trapped upstairs and two people would have died unless they had jumped from the window.”

Aykroyd was also made the subject of a lifetime restraining order banning him from going within 500 metres of the couple’s home.

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