A convicted arsonist has been sent back to prison for threatening to set fire to a Sheffield pub, just hours after he was asked to leave for becoming involved in an altercation.
Christopher Beechill, 31, was celebrating his brother’s birthday at The Office pub in Upperthorpe Road, Upperthorpe on Christmas Eve last year when he became involved in an argument with some fellow pub-goers.
Beechill’s barrister, Andrew Swaby, said it is his client’s case that after leaving as requested he was assaulted by a ‘number of individuals linked to the proprietor’.
Prosecutor, Andrew Smith, told Sheffield Crown Court how in the hours following the incident, Beechill sent messages to some of his family members who were involved in the altercation in which he threatened to burn down The Office pub.
One message sent by Beechill read: “I don’t make empty threats, I wasn’t in prison for nowt.”
“They were aware of the defendant’s history for causing criminal damage by fire, and were concerned he had the capability to carry out the threats,” said Mr Smith.
He added: “As a result of them believing the threats to be genuine, he contacted the proprietor. She was concerned because she lives on the premises and was 28 weeks pregnant. She made a complaint to the police.”
Beechill was arrested, and when he was interviewed by police he admitted sending the messages but said he never ‘would have carried out the threats,’ the court heard.
In 2009, Beechill, of Guildford Avenue, Arbourthorne was handed an indeterminate ‘public protection’ prison sentence for setting fire to the home of a vulnerable adult in Sheffield.
He served four years and was still on license for the offence when he made the threats against The Office.
Beechill was recalled to prison following the commission of the most recent offence, and pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening to burn down a public house at an earlier hearing.
In mitigation, Mr Swaby said: “He takes responsibility for the messages. He was angry and he was in drink. He had no intention of carrying out the threats, but accepts the witnesses would have been in fear.
“But to his credit, he hasn’t taken any further action.”
Judge Graham Reeds QC jailed Beechill for 20 months, after telling him he had no option but to send him straight to prison.
“This was a threat you intended to be taken seriously. Your previous convictions are an aggravating factor, not least because your victim knew your history, and that made it more likely that you would carry out a threat because they knew it was something you had done,” said Judge Reeds.
Beechill was also made the subject of a restraining order, which bans him from going to The Office public house or from contacting the proprietor.
- South Yorkshire Police have been asked to provide a custody image of Beechill