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Chip shop arsonist who set himself on fire is sent to prison

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An arsonist who became engulfed in a ball of flames as he ran away from a burning fish and chip shop has been jailed.

>> WATCH the footage that helped convict him here

Dramatic CCTV footage captured the moment Lubos Filek caught fire and fled across a main road in Selby after torching the business.

The 40-year-old caused more than £100,000 of damage to Abbey Fisheries – but to this day he has refused to tell detectives why he carried out the crime.

Today, a judge at York Crown Court jailed him for five years, eight months.

Emergency services were called to the shop in Gowthorpe at 3.50am on 21 March this year after members of the public reported the blaze.

As fire rapidly spread through the building, Filek ran away.

However, flames ignited his clothes and he suffered burns to his hands and body.

Filek discarded some items of clothing in an alleyway nearby. They were still smouldering when officers found them.

Firefighters managed to stop the blaze spreading to neighbouring properties and their investigations later proved that the fire was started deliberately with an accelerant.

After the incident, police ran DNA tests on the discarded clothing and identified Filek, who was unemployed and lived in Holmes Avenue, Selby.

He was arrested but refused to comment on a number of questions during police interviews.

Detectives asked Filek: “Is there anything that you can tell us about that would explain why you might have committed this offence against Abbey Fisheries?”

In reply, he simply said: “No”.

He then denied setting the building on fire, claiming he was at his girlfriend’s home on the night of the incident.

When the case reached court, Filek pleaded guilty to the charge of arson reckless as to whether life endangered.

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Constable Peter Smith who led the investigation by York CID, said: “The huge blaze started by Filek could have caused untold damage to innocent people and neighbouring buildings. It’s surprising nobody was seriously hurt or killed.

“The fire spread very quickly – so quickly in fact that it appears to have caught Filek totally by surprise as he ignited himself along with the building.

“Thankfully, we were able to identify and track down this offender very quickly and we’re grateful for information provided to us by members of the Selby community.

“Filek never explained why he did it or gave any reason for his actions, but that didn’t stop us building a case against him that has resulted in a significant prison sentence today. North Yorkshire is safer when criminals like him are behind bars.”

Last modified: July 19, 2019