A man who deliberately set fire to a pub in Buckhurst Hill while people lived in the apartment above has been jailed for five years and four months.
Spiros Schultz, 48, was seen throwing a lit match through a smashed window at the Three Colts pub at the Princes Road venue shortly after 4.50pm on February 6th.
Witnesses also saw a black fuel tank near Schultz, which was instrumental in the fire starting immediately.
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A witness called police at Schultz, who was arrested nearby in Loughton.
Meanwhile, at the pub, a woman living in the apartment above reported hearing a bang and then fire alarms that went off.
As she opened her front door, she was greeted by a smoke, which became thicker as she went down to try to get out.
She was trapped for between five and 10 minutes behind outside the pub with smoke blowing in the wind towards her before she came to safety.
Schultz was later indicted by the Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday, March 8, admitting that arson was ruthless as to whether life is in danger and breach of a restraining order.
At Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday (October 28), he was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.
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Investigating officer, Detective Kelly Gould, said: “Spiros Schultz set fire to the pub in a cheeky, premeditated attack.
“He took no account of the safety or welfare of anyone in the apartment above it, and his actions could have had tragic consequences.
“I would like to commend the actions of the member of the public who witnessed what happened.
“They quickly think that they may have saved the life of the woman in the apartment.
“Quick work by our officers meant that Schultz was quickly arrested, and because of the evidence against him, he had no choice but to admit his guilt.
“I hope this verdict will do the victim justice.”
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