Biggleswade man who threw petrol bomb jailed for three and half years


A man who hurled a “molotov cocktail” at a motorist sitting in his car in Biggleswade has been jailed three-and-a-half years.

The driver said flames engulfed his car and he told a court: “I thought I was going to die.”

The man who threw a bottle containing fuel with a burning rag stuffed in the neck, 22-year-old Keelan Dickens, was told by a judge at St Albans Crown Court Tuesday, April 7, 2021.

“This was a pre-planned attack on the victim arising out of a dispute over a break up of a relationship.”

Judge Richard Foster it went on: “You armed yourself with a molotov cocktail which you must have prepared”

The judge said he and others had then “hunted down” the victim.

Dickens, 23, appeared for sentence having been found guilty by a jury last November of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

He had been acquitted of arson with intent to endanger life.

Dickens had carried out the attack in Biggleswade, Beds on the night of September 4 2017 when he was 19.

He had been a passenger in a car which forced the victim who was driving, to pull up abruptly.

Dickens then leapt out from the back seat and hurled a burning bottle of fuel at the car behind.

The victim told the court he believed he had been targeted because of his relationship break up with a previous girlfriend which had ended with bad feelings.

He said he and two passengers who were in his car all managed to get out unharmed

Dickens who at the time of the attack was living in Chaucer Drive in Biggleswade claimed in court he hadn’t been in the car and took no part in the fire bombing of the car.

Following his conviction last November, Dickens had been remanded in custody for the preparation of reports for the sentencing hearing.

He appeared in court via a video link from the jail on Tuesday, April 7, where he has been held.

He was allowed to read out a letter he had written to the judge in which he said that because of his offending over the years and the time spent in custody, he had missed out “on some of the best years” in the life of his three year old daughter.

The letter finished with Dickens telling judge: “I understand I have to be punished. My Nan always said to me if you can’t do the time, then do not do the crime. But please Your Honour, take into consideration that I was young back then, and I’m now an adult.

“Please do punish me, but please do not punish those around me.”

Passing sentence Judge Foster told Dickens that that there were “signs of hope” that he was now “maturing and seeing the error of his ways.”

Dickens was told he would have to serve half of his three-and-a-half year sentence in custody and would then be released on licence.