Man detained indefinitely after blowing up his car at a Norfolk petrol station

A mentally ill man who blew up his car at a Swaffham petrol station on the busy A47 and was said by a judge to have put lives at risk by his actions.

Judge Peter Jacobs was speaking yesterday at a sentencing hearing for Hussian Murad, who was made the subject of an indefinite hospital order.

Murad, 33, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, drove into the BP filling station on Boxing Day and sprayed fuel over the passenger seat of his car then set it alight causing an explosion, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The 33 year-old told police in interview that he did it because he wanted to return to his native Iraq.

Andrew Oliver, prosecuting, said that another car on the forecourt had to reverse to get out of the way and member of staff in the kiosk said she was 'petrified and scared' by what happened.

The court heard that Murad had also been involved in starting another fire using petrol at another filling station on the A1 at Marston between Newark and Grantham earlier that same day.

Murad, of Holkham Avenue, Leicester, was found guilty of two counts of arson following a trial and, today, he appeared for sentence and was made subject to an indefinite hospital order, after the judge heard psychiatric reports about him.

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Judge Peter Jacobs told Murad: 'People who go into petrol stations and light fires, in simple layman's, terms run the obvious risk of blowing the whole petrol station up and killing anyone in the vicinity.'

He also praised the quick-thinking actions of the Norfolk petrol pump attendant who had cut off the supply to the pumps when she realised what was happening.

'She had the great presence of mind to turn off the supply to the pumps and that is almost certainly the reason the whole garage did not blow up,' said Judge Jacobs.

He added that the woman still suffered nightmares about what happened.

However, he accepted Murad was mentally unwell at the time.

'It's perfectly plain you certainly were suffering from that illness at the time of these offences,' said Judge Jacobs.

He said Murad would not be released until the Home Office decided it was safe for him to be released.

Simon Gladwell, for Murad, said: 'He was ill at the time of the offences. Murad is now, as a result of his treatment, aware of the risks of his actions.'

He said he had been compliant with his treatement.

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