Glasgow & West Scotland

Man who endangered lives in gas explosion jailed

Brian Reid Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Brian Reid will be supervised after his release from prison

A man who endangered the lives of his girlfriend and his neighbours by causing a gas blast at his flat has been jailed for more than five years.

Brian Reid, 27, tampered with a pipe at his home in Govan, Glasgow, then lit the leaking gas.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that he had earlier confessed to partner Emma Fitzsimmons he had cheated on her.

Reid claimed to be distraught when Ms Fitzsimmons then ended the relationship on 22 March last year.

Ten flats on Kennedar Drive were evacuated and more than 20 residents, including families, were forced out of their homes.

It was several months before one neighbour could move back in due to the damage caused.

Image caption Ten flats on Kennedar Drive, Govan, were evacuated after the explosion

Reid, who was earlier convicted of culpably and recklessly endangering the lives of others, was jailed for five years and three months.

Lady Stacey told Reid: "You put your girlfriend at risk of her life or at least serious injury.

"You caused similar risk to other people in the flats and, indeed, anyone else that was passing.

"It is fortunate no one lost their lives."

Reid, who had been cleared of attempting to murder Ms Fitzsimmons, will also be supervised for a further three years on his release.

Cheated

A trial heard how the couple had been having issues before the incident.

Ms Fitzsimmons, 30, turned up at Reid's flat as he wanted to "tell her about something".

He said: "I had cheated on her when we were going through a bad patch. This was a week or two before.

"I had to tell her as I wanted the relationship to work. She would have found out in the long run."

Reid recalled Ms Fitzsimmons was "furious" and insisted they were "over".

He told the court he then wanted to take his own life.

He said: "I was thinking that I had lost everything."

Image caption The blast showered glass onto the road and across the street

The couple argued before Emma eventually fell asleep at the flat.

The court heard Reid went into a cupboard, started tampering with a gas meter before disconnecting a pipe.

The escaping gas was then lit, sparking the explosion.

Ms Fitzsimmons was awoken by the loud bang, smashing glass, and an alarm.

She recalled being "very frightened" and rushed to dial 999.

Asked about Reid, she recalled: "He was burnt on his face and hands."

You are gassed'

Ms Fitzsimmons put out the blaze before firefighters arrived.

The court heard claims Reid had told Ms Fitzsimmons: "You are not going to get out. You are gassed - that's it. I am blowing us up".

But, he insisted in evidence: "Why would I say that to her? It was my girlfriend who I love."

Prosecutor Bill McVicar: "You must have known that the consequences from your efforts to take your own life would not just be limited to what happened to you?"

Reid replied: "I was not thinking about everyone in the close. When I think about it now, it is something that I regret."

Ms Fitzsimmons suffered cuts from shards of broken glass. Reid himself spent more than a week in hospital.

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