Prison for pub arsonist

A BACKWELL man has been sent to prison after threatening to burn a Nailsea pub ‘to the ground’.

Paul Wingrove was with an accomplice when he shouted abuse outside The Queens Head in High Street before setting light to some rubbish by the front door on July 9 last year.

The 29-year-old appeared before North Somerset magistrates yesterday (Tues) where he was charged with arson, criminal damage and using threatening words or behaviour with intent to cause a fear of violence.

The incident happened at 1am, when the pub owners Steve Snook and Vikki Cottey were asleep upstairs, along with Miss Cottey’s 14-year-old son.

After hearing noises outside and then hard banging on the pub’s front door, Mr Snook got up and saw Wingrove and his accomplice, who cannot be named due to court rules, outside. The police were then called.


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Before officers arrived, a metal bin was thrown at Mr Snook’s BMW X5 car, parked at the back of the property, causing more than �3,500 worth of damage.

Wingrove then shouted: “I’m going to torch the place.”

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“If you have any children in there you better get them out in the next 48 hours because I’m going to burn this pub to the ground.”

Police arrived at 1.30am and found Wingrove with a cigarette lighter in his hand next to a pile of rubbish that had been set alight, causing damage to the front door.

Later on, a handwritten note that had been pushed through the letter box of The Queens Head was found. It read ‘RIP liars’ with a drawing of a cross alongside.

When interviewed by police, Wingrove of Waverley Road, said he had been drinking and had no recollection of what happened.

David Bird, defending, said: “Mr Wingrove is frank about his failings - in part due to his drinking but also the difficulties he has had with ADHD.

“A short time in custody will help him.”

Before he was sentenced, Wingrove said he would be able to stick to the conditions of a community order so a prison sentence would be more suitable.

Wingrove was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison for the arson, four weeks to run concurrently for the criminal damage and four weeks to run concurrently for using threatening abusive words and behaviour.

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