Buxton man jailed for setting man on fire

Jake Grimshaw, of Buxton, who has been jailed for 14 years for deliberately setting a man alight.
Jake Grimshaw, of Buxton, who has been jailed for 14 years for deliberately setting a man alight.

A Buxton man who was hearing voices in his head before deliberately setting another man alight has been jailed for 14 years.

Jake Grimshaw confronted John McLaughlin at the victim’s Fairfield Road home on February 7, squirting lighter fluid on him and then setting him alight, Nottingham Crown Court heard on Tuesday. He then returned to his flat on South Mews where he threatened to jump from the third floor window, causing large parts of Buxton to be sealed off by police as trained negotiators were brought in to talk him down.

Fire investigaters at the scene on Fairfield Road

Fire investigaters at the scene on Fairfield Road

Mr McLaughlin, 37, suffered extensive burns to his face and body, damage to his internal organs and still remains in hospital more than six months after the incident.

His family were repeatedly told he may not survive, prosecutor Caroline Bradley said.

Witness described the scene as “like something out of a film” with one saying she saw a “burning inferno”.

Grimshaw, 23, who had been using amphetamines for several years, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Jailing him, Judge Michael Stokes QC said: “This was a truly terrible crime. Had he (Mr McLaughlin) died, you would by your own admission be guilty of murder.”

Mr McLaughlin, who watched proceedings via a video link from hospital, later told officers: “I just thought I was going to die, I did everything I could to put it out but I couldn’t because it was burning my hands.”

“In the months leading up to February 7, Mr Grimshaw became increasingly paranoid,” Miss Bradley said. “His girlfriend had ended their relationship because of his behaviour.”

Grimshaw, who was diagnosed as bi-polar, had been in hospital seeking help for his mental health problems until January 29 when he had discharged himself, and had not taken his medication on February 7.

He also had contact with a mental health nurse on February 7 when he complained about problems with his girlfriend before saying: “I’m going to do some crazy s**t that will devastate a lot of people.”

Sonal Ahya, defending Grimshaw, said: “In anyone’s view, he has committed an appalling offence.

“The sad truth is that this defendant and the complainant were what could be classed as friends. For what it is worth, he is truly sorry for what he has done.

“The reality is had he continued to take the medication he had been prescribed and had he not used drugs, his mental health would have remained stable.”

Grimshaw will also serve six years on licence once he is released from prison.