Van driver jailed after setting himself on fire with hand sanitiser in court

A van driver who unleashed terror after setting himself ablaze with hand sanitiser and rushing at a judge has been jailed.

Kamil Kalwarski, 38, staggered towards District Judge Timothy Capstick after suddenly pouring flammable contents over himself and setting it alight.

The Polish national pushed court clerk Wendy Brown to the floor before being wrestled to the ground by two police officers at Teeside Magistrates Court.

The dad-of-two had vowed to set judges' eyes on fire when he appeared in the dock for breaching a restraining order against contacting his estranged wife.

Hand gel had been removed after he emailed threats to the judge ahead of his hearing in July, the Mail Online reports.

But Kalwarski managed to sneak in the anti-bacterial gel and a lighter to the court room to stage his terrifying protest.

Mrs Brown later said she had never seen anything as shocking in 34 years in her job.

The defendant was taken to hospital with burns to his left arm, ear and with some of his hair burnt off.

He refused to apologise after being allowed home later that day, claiming that he wasn't being treated "fairly" by the courts and only meant to hurt himself.

But Kalwarski, of Grangetown, Middlesbrough, was arrested again on August 12 after an Army bomb disposal team were called to his home, leading to a six hour standoff with police.

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He has now been jailed for 18 months by Judge Paul Watson QC at Teeside Crown Court, after admitting to a range of offences relating to the fire incident, as well as malicious communications offences and repeatedly breaching a non-molestation order.

Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, said his relationship with his wife had broken down and she was granted a non-molestation order last year which Kalwarski repeatedly broke, posting pictures taken near her home on social media and contacting her on Facebook.

In July he sent threatening emails to the magistrates’ court, saying in one he "was going to set fire to the eyes of the judges" before his appearance that month.

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In a victim statement, District Judge Capstick said he had not feared for his own safety due to the layout of the court, but he was concerned for the court staff.

Steven Reed, mitigating, said his client never aimed to hurt anyone else, only himself, and he had written to Mrs Brown to apologise.

He was said to be suffering an adjustment disorder at the time – a recognised mental health issue – caused by his sense of loss and a perception of injustice.

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Judge Watson said the courtroom incident was "an extraordinary and uncalled for outburst" which must have been "terrifying" for the clerk.

He added: "(It) must have been genuinely frightening for those who were present at the time. Fortunately you were wrestled to the floor and the small fire to your arm was put out."

The judge imposed a two-year restraining order keeping Kalwarski away from his ex-partner.

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