Jail for suicide explosion bid

AN Ipswich man who tried to blow up his council flat in a failed suicide bid is today facing a three year jail sentence.Jamie Skippings, 28, of Grimwade Street, barricaded his door, disconnected a gas pipe and set fire to a duvet in the hope of causing a major explosion.

AN Ipswich man who tried to blow up his council flat in a failed suicide bid is today facing a three year jail sentence.

Jamie Skippings, 28, of Grimwade Street, barricaded his door, disconnected a gas pipe and set fire to a duvet in the hope of causing a major explosion.

Ipswich crown court heard how he took the drastic action after a dispute with social services.

Steven Dyble, prosecuting, told the court how, on the evening of November 5, Skippings had gone out and consumed "a lot of alcohol."


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Mr Dyble said: "He returned to his Grimwade Street flat in the early hours of November 6. Using a set of pliers he disconnected a pipe which ran to the gas fire. He then lit a fire in the hall way and went in to one of the bedrooms to wait for the fire to ignite an explosion."

The court heard that after a few minutes Skippings came to his senses and fled the flat through a window.

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Mr Dyble said: "Fire men using breathing apparatus had to break down the front door to get in to the property. They entered the property when gas was still being released. It seems to be a matter of pure good fortune that there was no explosion."

The court heard how seven people from surrounding flats, including a pensioner and a family with four young children had a lucky escape.

Skippings admitted a charge of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Mr Dyble said: "This was a fairly extensive fire, lit in a group of flats, that could have had disastrous consequences."

Around £19,000 of damage was caused to the flat.

Miles Bennett, mitigating, said Skippings had not intended to endanger the lives of others: "If you look at the circumstances behind what happened they are entirely exceptional and unusual in an arson case. "This was not an arson intended out of spite at anyone else. He intended to do nothing more than kill himself."

Sentencing, judge Peter Thompson said the crime was too serious to consider anything other than a custodial sentence.

He said: "The other residents were all asleep at the time. The risk to these people was very real and you showed an absolute disregard for their safety."

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