Northamptonshire man given community order after throwing flammable liquid over victim

The court heard that the attack took place after a dispute about money

By Megan Hillery
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 4:29 pm

A Northamptonshire man has been given a community order after throwing a bottle of poisonous liquid over a work colleague.

James Birch, aged 55, of High Street in Weedon appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, May 24 after pleading guilty to maliciously administering a poison with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy said victim.

The court heard that Birch had a “history of problems” with the victim with money being an issue they frequently argued over.

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James Birch, aged 55, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, May 24.

Neil Bannister, prosecuting, told the court that an argument took place between the two men at their workplace in Weedon and Birch grabbed a bottle of methylated spirits.

The court heard that Birch demanded the victim transfer cash into his account as he took the cap off the bottle. The victim, feeling “threatened,” told Birch he could not send the money.

Mr Bannister said that Birch “would not calm down” and threw the bottle’s contents over the victim, who reported that some of the liquid got into his eyes causing burning and irritation. The incident was captured on CCTV.

The victim, in a statement, said the incident made him feel that he did not want to go to work and his mental health had suffered.

Birch has no previous convictions but he was given a caution for criminal damage in 2002.

Her Honour Judge Rebecca Crane said: “This was impulsive. He was fearful that he would be set alight.”

Birch was given a 12 month community order with two requirements: that he attends 10 rehabilitation requirement days and carries out 100 hours of unpaid work.