Man lit firework thinking it was cigarette causing 'almighty explosion' at pregnant ex-partner's home

A man who lit a firework after thinking it was a cigarette caused three fires at his pregnant ex-partner’s home, leaving her homeless, a court heard.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 12:31 pm
Zubair Khan lit a firework thinking it was a cigarette causing an 'almighty explosion' and starting a fire in her home, Bradford Crown Court heard.
Zubair Khan lit a firework thinking it was a cigarette causing an 'almighty explosion' and starting a fire in her home, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Zubair Khan had taken a cocktail of drugs and alcohol when he made the mistake at the woman’s flat in Bradford during November last year, it was said.

Bradford Crown Court heard that there was a flash and an “almighty explosion” as the firework went off in his hand.

The fires that resulted from the projectile destroyed the pregnant woman’s belongings and later left her home uninhabitable, the court heard.

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Khan, 42, from, Allerton, Bradford, was originally charged with arson, being reckless as to whether property would be damaged and life endangered.

But on the day of his trial, the Crown accepted that he had been left with a serious injury to his hand.

His guilty plea to simple arson was accepted and he was spared a prison sentence on Wednesday, December 22 after the court heard of his mental health problems.

He had been Sectioned under the Mental Health Act twice following a tragic family murder in 2008.

Prosecutor Mehran Nassiri said on November 26 last year, Khan had taken alcohol, crack cocaine and cannabis when he called at the flat, in Bradford, that afternoon.

Mr Nassiri explained that the temporary accommodation comprised six single rooms with a communal kitchen.

He said Khan had turned up intoxicated and argued with the woman, shouting at her.

After she had left the property, a man standing outside heard a huge explosion and saw a flash of light.

The fire service and the police were alerted when thick black smoke was seen coming from the flat.

Firefighters found burning patches in three areas, but the flames were extinguished before the blaze could take hold.

CCTV in the building showed Khan staggering out of the flat and lying on the floor, obviously in pain.

He then went into the kitchen before leaving the property without alerting the emergency services.

Khan’s hand and torso were burned. He went home and then attended the hospital but grew impatient and left before being treated, the court heard.

He was arrested later that day and told the police he was looking for a cigarette and thought he had found one in a drawer. He then lit it and heard a loud bang.

He said he rolled on the floor and then ran water over his burned hand.

Khan’s barrister, Taryn Turner, said: “At first blush, this is a very serious offence that could have had the most devastating and tragic consequences.”

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But the Crown accepted that he mistook the firework for a cigarette.

Mrs Turner said the offence was triggered by Khan’s excessive drinking and use of illicit drugs.

She said: “Although it is bizarre, he was drunk and his actions were clouded by drugs, so it was perfectly possible.”

Khan was motivated to tackle his substance misuse and very regretful and remorseful, the court was told.

Recorder Tahir Khan QC told him: “This was an unusual way in which the offence of arson was committed, but I can’t discount the possibility that you mistook a firework for a cigarette.”

He said Khan’s then-partner, who was pregnant at the time, had lost her home because of his actions.

“There was an almighty explosion damaging her flat and injuring you,” Recorder Khan said.

The judge said Khan’s behaviour that afternoon was influenced by his drug and alcohol misuse.

Khan was sentenced to a two-year community order with supervision and up to 30 rehabilitation activity days with the probation service.

He must also attend a nine-month alcohol treatment requirement.

The court also made a restraining order without limit of time, banning him from contacting his former partner or going near her new address.

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