Bristol explosion: Drug producer James Toogood jailed

image captionJames Toogood was making cannabis oil at his girlfriend's flat

A man who destroyed a block of flats in an explosion he caused while producing drugs has been jailed.

James Toogood was using butane to make cannabis oil when he caused the blast in Hartcliffe, Bristol, in February 2019. He caused £260,000 of damage.

Jailing him for eight and a half years, a judge at Bristol Crown Court said he had "ruined other people's lives".

Toogood, 36, was convicted last week of damaging property being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

His girlfriend Laura Hawkins, 39, was jailed for 15 months after being found guilty of allowing her flat to be used for the production a controlled drug.

image captionThe explosion caused £260,000 of damage

At the sentencing hearing were neighbours who had escaped the blast, which happened on 23 February at the flats on Whitchurch Lane.

They included a woman who had to leap from an upstairs window on to a trampoline to escape a fire started by the explosion.

Toogood, who was seen fleeing the building with his clothes on fire, admitted making drugs at the flat but claimed the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

image captionLaura Hawkins was found guilty of letting her flat be used for the production of a Class B drug

Jailing him, Judge James Patrick told Toogood: "Your desire for a stronger high ruined other people's lives."

The judge recommended Ricky Lee Bourton, who lived in the flats, be given a bravery award for rescuing his neighbours.

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