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Man threatens to set fire to himself

PUBLISHED: 06:45 01 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 March 2010

A TOWN centre courthouse was evacuated yesterday after a man due to appear before magistrates allegedly sprayed himself with lighter fuel and threatened to set fire to himself.

A TOWN centre courthouse was evacuated yesterday after a man due to appear before magistrates allegedly sprayed himself with lighter fuel and threatened to set fire to himself.

Timothy Radio, 31, was due to appear for sentencing in Colchester after being convicted of criminal damage.

But at around 2.05pm Mr Radio, of Chieveling Road, Colchester, was reported to have entered Court One of Colchester Magistrates Court, climbed into a witness box and warned he was covered in the flammable fluid. He then allegedly threatened to harm himself.

The court was cleared and the emergency services called. Police closed adjacent roads to traffic.

Two fire engines from Colchester were sent to the scene while an Aerial Ladder Platform was called from Chelmsford.

Firefighters ran foam hoses into the courthouse, which forms part of the Victorian town hall complex, in case a blaze was started.

Police called specialist negotiators to talk to Mr Radio as he stood in the witness box and an ambulance was called. Fifteen police officers were also despatched to the scene.

At about 3.20pm, Mr Radio gave himself up and was taken to Colchester Police Station.

Clerk to the magistrates, David Whitehead, said: "All I can say is that Mr Radio entered Court Number One. As far as I am aware he threatened to injure himself. The magistrates were not in session. It was just before we started.

"Everybody was safe within the court thanks to the police and the fire brigade. We are very grateful to the emergency services."

Assistant Divisional Officer Bernie Musto, of Essex Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We were called to a man who was threatening to set fire to himself with lighter fuel. We took in hoses linked to foam in case he carried out his threat."

Last night, a spokesman for Essex Police said: "Police were called to the court at 2.05pm in response to a report that a man had sprayed himself with lighter fuel and was threatening suicide. Police found a man in a witness box in the vacated Court One.

"At 3.20pm the man surrendered and was taken to Colchester Police Station. The man, who was aged 31, had been in court for sentencing following a conviction for criminal damage."

The spokesman confirmed last night that after being assessed by a doctor, Mr Radio was released without charge.


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