A man who deliberately set fire to a pub in Buckhurst Hill, while people were living in the flat above, has been jailed five years and four months in prison.
Spiros Schultz, 48, was seen throwing a lit match through a smashed window at the Three Colts pub on Princes Road venue shortly after 4.50pm on February 6.
Witnesses also saw a black fuel canister near Schultz, which contributed to the fire starting immediately.
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A witness called the police on Schultz who was arrested nearby in Loughton.
Meanwhile at the pub, a woman living in the flat above it reported hearing a bang and then fire alarms going off.
When she opened her front door she was met with a smoke which got thicker as she made her way downstairs to try to get out.
She was trapped for between five and 10 minutes in the rear outside of the pub with smoke blowing in the winds toward her before she got to safety.
Schultz was later charged at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday, March 8 admitted arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered 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 constable Kelly Gould said: “Spiros Schultz set fire to the pub in a brazen, pre-meditated attack.
“He paid no regard for the safety or welfare of anyone in the flat above it and his actions could have had tragic consequences.
“I want to praise the actions of the member of the public who witnessed what happened.
“They’re quick thinking may well have saved the life of the woman in the flat.
“Quick work from our officers meant Schultz was swiftly arrested and due to the evidence against him he had no choice but to admit his guilt.
“I hope this sentence will provide the victim with justice.”
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