Sheffield students jailed for TV in oven prank

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TWO students have been jailed after they put a television in the oven at their halls of residence in Sheffield.

But the judge who gave them both a two-year custodial sentence said he did so with a “heavy heart”.

Joshua Hart, aged 20, and 21-year-old Daniel Gyi decided to put the front part of the TV monitor in the electric oven in the kitchen of their flat in Endcliffe Crescent, Sheffield, after they had spent the afternoon drinking.

Two weeks previously, biomedical sciences student Gyi and Hart, who was studying Spanish and maths, had finished their first year exams at the University of Sheffield.

Prosecutor Elisabeth Martin told Sheffield Crown Court the pair had spent the afternoon in the pub drinking and watching football before returning to their four-storey block of student flats.

She told the court seven other people - two men and five women - were also in the block at the time of the incident, which was around 3.30am on June 26 last year.

Ms Martin said Hart and Gyi decided to throw the television off the top of the block of flats.

The front part broke off and they took this back inside, she said, before setting fire to a chair and putting the television in the oven.

When thick smoke started pouring from the oven, the defendants panicked before they left the flat, she said.

Gyi and Hart both eventually admitted they had caused the incident and pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Their defence counsel, Peter McCartney, said Gyi and Hart had not meant to harm anyone in the flats and only covered up heat detectors and sensors and left the flat because they panicked when they saw the amount of smoke pouring from the oven.

But Judge Peter Kelson QC said he could not ignore the seriousness of the offence the pair had committed.

“Doing the best I can to balance everything,” he told them, “and with a heavy heart knowing the sorrow and grief it will cause to your families, I sentence you both to an immediate custodial sentence of two years. You will serve half of that.”