A MAN who threw a petrol bomb into the path of a car on a busy Chester road has been jailed for five years.

Timothy Podmore, 54, sat in bushes on the A540 Parkgate Road and ignited the fuse of his homemade device before hurling it onto the carriageway.

Horrified motorist Kelly Jones then saw petrol from the broken bottle ignite, sending four feet flames into the air in front of her Nissan.

She slammed on the brakes and called the police after seeing the culprit ride away on his bicycle at about 9.15pm on May 1.

Three officers later confronted Podmore at his home on Egerton Street, Newtown, where he began throwing burning pieces of paper at them from an upstairs window.

He then warned them that he had a cigarette lighter and five gallons of paraffin before arming himself with a “sword-stick”.

Officers entered his home and several were injured when a door was slammed into them, shattering a pane of glass.

They then used a Tazer stun gun to subdue Podmore, who was now brandishing a pair of pliers, and eventually they overpowered him.

Chester Crown Court heard yesterday that Podmore had been suffering with a “depressive disorder” following the death of his mother and a falling-out with his brother.

A psychiatric report revealed he “probably has an emotionally unstable personality” but
concluded he was fit to enter pleas and knew what he was doing at the time of the offences.

Podmore pleaded guilty to 'causing an explosion likely to endanger life or injure property' – a charge more commonly associated with terrorism.

He also admitted affray, causing actual bodily harm to PC Anthony Reid and two counts of battery against DC Justin Jones and PC Gordon Morris.

Sentencing him to a total of five years in prison, Judge Nicholas Woodward said: “It's clear from the report that you knew what you were doing at that time and you knew it was wrong to do what you did.

“I accept that the petrol bomb didn't cause injury or damage and that's a mercy in this case.”

Outlining the facts, prosecutor Peter Hussey said Mrs Jones had noticed an outstretched arm coming from the bushes “in the process of a throwing motion” near the Fiddlers Lane junction of the A540.

The petrol bomb – also known as a Molotov cocktail – then shattered on the road.

“She immediately braked to a halt,” Mr Hussey said. “There were flames three to four feet in height in front of her car.

“She was very shocked and immediately picked up her mobile phone to call 999. She initially thought it was kids messing about.”

An elderly man and his female companion were also at the scene and identified themselves as Podmore's neighbours, saying he was mentally unwell.

Following the arrest, one officer was treated for a piece of glass in the eye and the others had cuts to the hands and forearms.

In his police interview, the defendant admitted making the petrol bomb and said he had found the death of his mother and arranging her funeral extremely stressful. A break-down in the relationship with his brother had also made things worse.

Myles Wilson, defending, told the court: “It goes without saying that this was a very dangerous thing that Mr Podmore did that night.”

However he stressed that the defendant's actions were “completely out of character” and he had no previous convictions.

“It has all the hallmarks of someone having a complete breakdown,” Mr Wilson added.