Bee O’Brien, 49, flew into a rage after a row over his benefits payments and set fire to the customer telephones at Moss Side job centre after he hadn’t eaten for three days
An unemployed man who hadn’t eaten for three days tried to set fire to the job centre – so he could have a meal in police custody.
Bee O’Brien, 49, flew into a rage after a row over his benefits payments and set fire to the customer telephones at Moss Side job centre. O’Brien had not eaten for three days after his benefits had been stopped.
He told police: “I will commit a crime and get arrested. I need some food.”
O’Brien, of Camelford Close, Hulme, admitted criminal damage, attempted arson, and using threatening words and behaviour when he appeared before Manchester magistrates.
Gina Clayton, defending, said: “His benefits had been stopped for some reason and he hadn’t eaten for three days. He was simply desperate for some food. He went to the job centre to get his payments and lost his temper. He was aware that if he was arrested he would have been given food at the police station.”
Helen Veitch, prosecuting, told the court: “A member of staff at the job centre noticed he was arguing on the customer services advice telephone. He was noted to be aggressive and abusive.
by Pete Brainbridge in the ‘Manchester Evening News’, 26th September 2013: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/unemployed-man-sets-fire-job-6096469
“He was asked to leave the job centre, and was told the staff would phone police. She said the member of staff then ‘heard a clicking noise’ and saw O’Brien with a cigarette lighter.
She said: “He tried to set fire to the phone cable, then went to another phone and repeated the action. He said – ‘Yes, I’m setting fire to this to get arrested’. When police arrived he said: “If you don’t get my money I will commit a crime and get arrested. I need some food.”
He was detained but carried on being abusive in custody and hurled hot chocolate all over his cell.
He was given a 12 month community order and ordered to do 40 hours unpaid work