Drunken dad locked up after trying to set himself on fire

Convicted - Mark Allum
Convicted - Mark Allum

A JUDGE has praised a policeman who was doused in petrol for risking his life to overpower a suicidal drunk intent on setting himself alight,

Mark Allum had drunk 15 pints of lager before he poured petrol over himself and Pc Mark Kennedy during a domestic dispute.

Pc Kennedy said it was the only time during his career he had feared for his life.

It was the second time the 40-year-old had appeared in court for threatening to set fire to himself. He has now been jailed for five years after he admitted attempted arson while being reckless whether life would be endangered.

Doncaster Crown Court was told Pc Kennedy and Pc Gail Hill, were called to Allum’s home in Campsall Road, Askern, when the defendant called police after punching his partner Kelly Clapham.

The mother-of-three wanted to leave the family home to go to Cleethorpes, with her mum. Allum was warned by the officers about his conduct, said David Webster, prosecuting.

As Ms Clapham and their 16-month-old daughter got in her mother’s car, Allum kissed the tot and said: “Daddy won’t be here when you get back.”

He then turned towards his car, at which Pc Kennedy warned him not to drive. But Allum leaned in and produced a petrol can which he put above his head and shouted: “Who’s going to stop me?”

When he poured some of the fuel on his car Pc Kennedy tried to restrain him, but the defendant threw petrol at his face and body. Allum then brandished a lighter and poured the remaining petrol over his head.

Mr Webster said: “PCcKennedy was sure he intended to kill himself and endanger others so he hauled him to the floor by his head and neck while Pc Hill tried to take the lighter from him.

“Allum squeezed her hand forcefully but she managed to release the lighter and they managed to subdue him.”

Pc Hill was shaken by the ordeal and considered quiting the force.

After his arrest Allum, who also admitted assaulting his partner and Pc Hill, said: “Pc Kennedy saved my life, for what it’s worth. If I’ve not got my kids there’s no point in living.”

In 2007 then pub landlord Allum was convicted of pouring brandy over himself and threatening to ignite it.

Michael Cane-Soothill said his client presented a danger, however at the time he was stressed following his partner undergoing an emergency termination and the couple being evicted from their previous home. Allum regretted his actions, he added.

The judge, Recorder Mark Bury, told Allum the officers “very bravely and commendably grappled with you to wrestle the cigarette lighter from you”.

“They genuinely believed you would have killed yourself and others were in danger of losing their lives,”