North Tyneside man jailed

14 Mar 2017 12:06 PM

Convicted Peter Dixon [View Full Size]

A man has been jailed for four years after he endangered lives by crashing his van into his former wife's home and attempting to set fire to gas cylinders.

Peter Langley Dixon, aged 53, of Frank Place in North Shields pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court. Following this he has been sentenced at Newcastle's Moot Hall on Monday, March 13, and has started a prison sentence.

The court established that last year on Monday, October 3, at approximately 6.19pm Langley drove his Ford Transit van into several cars in Frank Place, where he lived, before driving off. A short time later he arrived at Sedbergh Road in Cullercoats at his ex-wife's home, breaching a non molestation order, which instructed him to keep away from his former wife and her home.

On arrival he deliberately crashed his van into the garage attached to the home of his former wife. Police were called and quickly responded and saw the driver inside the locked smashed van.

The officers were confronted with the smashed vehicle and also saw the main gas meter for the property hanging mid air in the garage void as a result of the crash. They found the van had gas cylinders inside it which were leaking gas and the driver was smoking a cigarette. The van's engine was still running and the driver continued to smoke a cigarette despite the pleas of the officers to put it out who were concerned that there could be a gas explosion, endangering lives.

Despite the evident dangers officers smashed the rear window of the van and climbed inside and made their way towards the driver. Where they found the smell of gas was getting stronger and hissing from the two gas cylinders was getting louder. The officers saw a number of still lit cigarettes in the area behind the driver's seat.

Then the officers managed to reach the driver, turn the ignition off, by throwing the keys away, and throw the lit cigarettes away. The officers shouted at Dixon repeatedly to leave the van but he refused. Instead he picked up his cigarettes and lighter and began to spark the lighter in front of the officers who were trying to save him. The two officers physically grabbed hold of Dixon and dragged him outside to safety, where he was subsequently arrested.

The fire service and gas engineers were called to make the area safe.

Dixon pleaded guilty to four offences; criminal damage being reckless to endanger life, attempted arson being reckless to endanger life, driving with excess alcohol and breaching a non-molestation order.

Superintendent Mick Paterson said: "This was a most unusual case which could easily have led to loss of life.

"The officers who attended this incident acted very bravely, when entering the van they were aware of the smell of escaping gas and put their own lives at risk to save the life of another. Their actions were brave in the best tradition of the police service and clearly prevented further harm. If the gas cylinders had ignited there could have been a number of fatalities.

"Fortunately incidents of this nature are rare and we hope the family of Mr Dixon can now begin to put all this behind them and move forward."

Pictured: convicted Peter Langley Dixon