A FATHER from Chester threatened to torch his tower block flat during a three-hour “siege”, despite pleas from police officers to remember the Grenfell tragedy.

John Chesworth, 31, set fire to a piece of paper but luckily officers broke through his front door barricade in time to stamp it out in the early hours of January 19 this year.

Chester Crown Court heard he had already assaulted his pregnant girlfriend and smashed up his 10th floor Sanctuary Housing apartment at Glyn Garth, Blacon, before arming himself with kitchen knives.

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John Chesworth is now behind bars.

Chesworth threw pieces of broken glass, furniture, picture frames and even a tin of paint at police officers who were called to the scene by startled neighbours at 4am.

Judge Steven Everett described him as a ‘tenant from Hell’ and a ‘Jekyll and Hyde character’ who could not control himself when drinking alcohol.

The defendant, who works as an industrial cleaner, was jailed for a total of 42 months after he pleaded guilty to a string of charges including affray, assault, and aggravated vehicle taking.

The judge told him: “This was a complete and utter catalogue of the most disgusting, aggressive, disgraceful and violent behaviour.”

And referring to the arson threat, he added: “If they [the officers] had not got into the flat then who knows what might have happened. You could be facing charges of multiple manslaughter or possibly multiple murder, if you had survived the fire.”

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The incident at Glyn Garth sparked a major response from the emergency services.

Prosecuting, Peter Hussey told the court the case was based on two incidents, the first of which happened at his partner Laura Griffin’s home in Handbridge on December 22 last year.

The pair had been arguing about her ex-partner after Chesworth came home from work drunk. He tried to grab the keys to her Ford Mondeo and ended up pinning her to the floor when she moved to stop him.

“He then drove off,” Mr Hussey said. “She was concerned because she knew he was drunk and dialled 999.”

An officer arrived to speak to her and as they talked they heard a “loud crash” as Chesworth crashed the car into railings on a narrow residential street, writing it off.

He disappeared from the scene, leaving his phone charging inside the vehicle, but was soon arrested and attempted to spit at officers. He then tried to deny any wrongdoing during his police interview.

Charged with a number of offences - including assaulting his pregnant partner, taking her car and drink-driving – he was granted bail pending a further court appearance.

But he breached his bail on January 19 when he and Miss Griffin went out for drinks in the city centre.

Chesworth heard her asking someone about her ex-partner and angrily confronted her when they returned to his flat.

He then started vandalising the property, pulling things off the wall, smashing a glass cabinet and kicking his TV causing around £6,000 worth of damage and prompting neighbours to call the police.

“He was just wrecking everything,” Mr Hussey added.

The defendant then assaulted Miss Griffin and “told her she wasn’t going anywhere” before taking her out onto the balcony.

“The police were extremely concerned,” Mr Hussey said.

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Firefighters were on stand-by after Chesworth threatened to set fire to his 10th floor flat.

Chesworth eventually let his partner go but barricaded the door of his flat in a stand-off with officers.

“This went on for several hours,” Mr Hussey said. “It wasn’t until 7am that the defendant threatened that was going to set fire to the flat. The officer reminded him of what had recently happened at Grenfell Tower in London and he didn’t want that on his hands.”

But officers then smelled burning and forced entry to the apartment, stamping out a smouldering piece of paper. Meanwhile, Chesworth had retreated to the balcony and threatened to throw himself off.

“It took some time before he could be brought under control,” Mr Hussey told the court.

In a victim personal statement, one experienced police officer said the “siege situation” was the worst incident he had attended in his 10-year career.

The defendant threw shards of glass, made threats to officers’ children and families, and suggested he could still stab them in parts of their bodies unprotected by police body armour.

Defending, Brian Treadwell said his client had pleaded guilty to the offences and showed “sorrow and remorse”.

He said that Miss Griffin was standing by Chesworth and saw a side to him that had not been presented to the court.

Difficult times in his life had seen the defendant slip back into using drugs and alcohol and “burying his head in the sand”.

“This only exacerbated the problem and made it worse,” the barrister said. “It made him behave in a very criminal way without thought of consequence to others.”

Mr Treadwell stressed that Chesworth had been engaging well with support services at Altcourse Prison.

Passing sentence, Judge Everett told him: “It seems to me you are something of a Jekyll and Hyde character. While in drink you are Mr Hyde – a nasty, violent, aggressive individual. While sober I have no other information to say you are anything like that. You and alcohol do not go together – that is quite obvious.”

Chesworth has six previous convictions for eight offences, including affray, criminal damage and two counts of trafficking class A drugs.

He will spend half of his prison sentence behind bars and half on licence in the community. He was also banned from driving for three years.