Real-life Die Hard as off-duty police officer foils bid to burn restaurant down

A lout who threatened to blow up a restaurant was stopped by an off-duty policeman in a 'Die Hard' style intervention.

Francis Kelly clutched a jerry can as he entered the Ashoka in Glasgow's west end on May 6, 2021.

The 41-year-old told frightened customers that he was going to "burn" the restaurant down until a brave police sergeant Davie Marr tackled him to the ground before a blaze could be sparked.

Prosecutor Tanjeel Maleque told a jury at Glasgow Sheriff Court: "The events are almost akin to a movie plot. An off-duty police officer stepping up to save the day.

"It certainly has an air of Die Hard to it. The reality is this incident was not cinematic or enjoyable for those involved."

Kelly, who appeared from custody, had earlier pled guilty to a similar charge and in this case, was jailed for two years by sheriff Tony Kelly.

The court heard from sergeant Marr who stated that someone with a pale complexion was "ruining his lunch".

Mr Maleque said in his closing speech: "He was someone creating an awkward atmosphere to eventually becoming a threat."

Kelly was described as "disgruntled and annoyed" as well as "erratic."

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Mr Maleque: "The sergeant did not put any stock into what Kelly was doing until he saw him with a jerry can.

"The sergeant became fearful as coupled with the threats and Kelly smoking, he viewed him as a direct threat and took decisive action."

Kelly stated: "I'm not joking, I'm going to burn it down."

He was then tackled to the ground by the officer.

Restaurant manager Chetan Parmar stated that Kelly had been a "nuisance".

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Eyewitness Stuart Dahskin, a cancer nurse specialist, told the jury that he smelled petrol and "thought something serious was about to happen".

Kelly told the jury in his evidence that he builds houses for pigeons as a hobby.

He added that he was collecting plywood from shops for an hour before he went for a drink.

He denied threatening to burn the building down and that bringing the jerry can into the restaurant was "just a stupid mistake".

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