UK & World News

  • 20 December 2013, 17:50

Mosque Fire Bombing: Former Soldiers Jailed

Two former soldiers who fire-bombed a mosque four days after the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby have been sentenced to six years each.

Stuart Harness, 34, and Gavin Humphries, 37, unwittingly filmed themselves making petrol bombs before throwing them at the Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre.

Hull Crown Court heard they threw the devices as if they were lobbing grenades, which they would have been trained to do.

The attack was staged in May as a reprisal for the murder of Fusilier Rigby, who was run over and hacked to death by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale outside Woolwich Barracks in southeast London.

The pair were caught on the mosque's CCTV cameras throwing their home-made devices at the main doors as terrified worshippers were trapped inside.

Despite being frightened by the flames coming under the door, a worshipper ran out through the blaze and put it out with a fire extinguisher.

Two community support officers who were patrolling in the area because of previous incidents at the mosque chased the pair back to Harness' house where they were arrested.

They pleaded guilty to arson after police found video of the pair making the petrol bombs in the backyard which had been captured by a home CCTV camera installed by Harness.

He told officers he thought the camera had been turned off when he closed the laptop it was connected to.

Harness and Humphries, both of Dixon Avenue, Grimsby, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered. The court heard they had served in the Army with unblemished records.

They were jailed by Judge Mark Bury, who told them: "Whatever your feelings of outrage were, you should have allowed justice to take its course.

"Instead you carried out a retaliatory act of throwing petrol bombs at the Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre.

"As is usual in these cases, the victims had nothing to do with the events that so enraged you.

"They were entirely innocent law-abiding Muslims who were practising their religion in a peaceable way."

A third man, Daniel Cressey, 25, of New Holland, North Lincolnshire, was jailed for three years after he was found guilty of aiding and abetting Harness and Humphries by driving them to the mosque.

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