'It could have been catastrophic': Angry patient caused terror at Leeds General Infirmary by setting hospital on fire and threatening to kill medical staff
A patient caused terror at Leeds General Infirmary when he set fire to the hospital and threatened to kill people as he was unhappy at the treatment he had received.
The hospital had to be evacuated as Kriss Jackson walked around the building starting fires during an arson attack that cost the NHS up to £100,000.
A judge who jailed Jackson at Leeds Crown Court said it was "only by sheer luck" it did not not end in catastrophe.
The 43-year-old defendant was given an extended prison sentence of 10 years and three months over the incident on January 21 this year.
Leeds Crown Court heard Jackson, who suffers from fibromyalgia, attended the hospital in pain two days earlier.
Alex Menary, prosecuting, said Jackson returned to the LGI on January 21 and refused to leave when told he was being discharged.
Security officers escorted him from the premises at 3pm and watched him walk off along Calverley Street.
At 6pm a hospital porter heard the fire alarm go off and could smell smoke.
Mr Menary said Jackson burst into the building and shouted to staff and patients: "Get out, it is not a drill. You are all going to die."
The defendant was flicking a lighter in his hand at the time and said he had started the fire.
He also tried to set fire to paperwork on a desk.
The prosecutor said an elderly woman behind the desk was "frozen with fear."
Another hospital porter tried to take the plastic from the defendant but he pushed her away,
He said: "Get out of my way or I will smash you".
Jackson then walked off saying: "I am going to set everything on fire."
He tried to set some pyjamas and gowns alight but the porter took them from him.
Mr Menary said two radiographers, who were in a room with a patient, went to see what was happening when they heard the disturbance.
Jackson shouted at them: "I have got a weapon, I'm going to kill you. I'm going to light you up."
He was then seen trying to set a notice board on fire.
The court heard a member of staff cried in fear as she rang police to report the incident.
Another staff member locked herself in a toilet as she was so scared.
A stroke patient was unable to leave a treatment room to escape the danger.
Jackson then began smashing up computers and setting fire to more paper in an X-ray control room.
Read more: Leeds Farmfoods shop assistant stole more than £7,000 worth of goods from Seacroft store during 'customer' shopping scamA staff member tried to enter the room and Jackson said: "If you come in I will kill you."
He picked up a screwdriver and said "I am going to stab you" before advancing towards him.
Jackson threw a chair which hit the man on the leg.
The man managed to close the door to trap Jackson in the room.
A manager came with a fire extinguisher but Jackson made further stab threats to him.
He refused to drop the weapon when security staff charged at him with chairs.
Jackson was arrested when police officers arrived and used tasers to detain him.
The court heard emergency services arrived to find the hospital in a "scene of panic."
Some patients ran from the building into the car park to escape the smoke but others were unable to leave as they were immobile.
Firefighters used breathing apparatus to make the hospital safe.
The incident lasted between 15 to 20 minutes but the building was evacuated for around 90 minutes afterwards.
Ambulances had to be diverted to St James' Hospital and some patients also had to be transported there from LGI.
Mr Menary said that, if the incident had lasted any longer, the hospital would have had to close it's major trauma centre as the Yorkshire Air Ambulance would not have been able to transport patients there.
Damage caused to building was estimated to be worth between £60,000 and £100,000.
The prosecutor said the main oxygen pipe to the hospital was damaged.
Had it ruptured it could have caused a "catastrophic" explosion.
Jackson was interviewed by police and told officers he had been angry over the treatment he had received when he attended the hospital.
The prosecutor said: "He said he wanted somewhere to stay and a warm bed."
He has 20 previous convictions for 52 offences and has served a prison sentence for burglary.
Stuart Field, mitigating, said Jackson accepted that his offending was very serious and had pleaded guilty at an early stage.
Mr Field said Jackson was homeless and was suffering with mental health problems at the time.
He said: "It was a bizarre occurrence, a strange occurrence, an awful occurrence, but certainly a one-off as far as this defendant's behaviour is concerned.
"It is not something that will repeat itself, or is a danger of repeating itself."
A psychiatric report stated that Jackson had emotional difficulties but does not suffer from a significant mental illness.
Judge Rodney Jameson QC said he was imposing the extended sentence as he considered Jackson to pose a significant risk to the public in future.
Judge Jameson said there was a danger that Jackson could behaviour in a similar way if medical staff were "not prepared to fill him with drugs" or "act like social services."
The Judge said: "He repeated his threats that he was going to set fire to everything and everybody.
"He threatened violence and death to anyone who sought to confront him.
"This was a revenge attack for a perceived failure to treat him.
"Multiple people were endangered. There was a significant impact on the emergency services."
Jackson must serve a custodial term of six years and three months, of which two-thirds must be spent in custody, followed by a further four-year licence period.
Jackson appeared in court via a video link from Armley jail in the morning but refused to leave his cell after the lunch break.
Judge Jameson imposed the sentence in the defendant's absence.