Furious workmate doused colleague in petrol in Wakefield social club while holding a blow torch

A furious thug doused petrol over a workmate at a social club near Wakefield while holding a blow torch, following a fallout.
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Paul Rhodes called the victim on his phone and told him to come outside of the Knottingley Club where he had been socialising on January 5 this year.

Rhodes got out of his car and confronted him, holding a cannister of fuel and the small blow torch in his other hand. The panic-stricken man turned to run back inside and "felt something wet" hit his back, which turned out to be petrol, Leeds Crown Court heard today.

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Witnesses described the strong smell of petrol in the corridor area of the Hill Top club.

Rhodes went back to his car and another person approached, with Rhodes telling them: "If you do not back off I will burn you and burn myself."

The court heard that 35-year-old Rhodes and the victim had been work colleagues and even friends but had fallen out over the purchase of dogs.

Rhodes, of Watling Road, Castleford, was arrested two days later, but only after he had attended A&E about his mental health struggles and thoughts of suicide.

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He gave a largely no-comment interview to police. He later admitted charges of affray and threatening a person with an offensive weapon. He has previous convictions for assaults, battery and possession of an offensive weapon.

Mitigating, Glenn Parsons said: "There is some evidence that part and parcel of this was his own mental health at the time. He presented himself to A&E concerned for his own mental health.

"He could not have been acting rationally. Nothing I say can justify what he actually did. He is very sorry. Up to this point he considered the victim as a good work friend and colleague."

He said that Rhodes lives with his partner who needs round-the-clock- care because of a complicated diabetes issue.

Rhodes threw the petrol over his work mate at Knottingley Club. (pics by Google Maps / PA)Rhodes threw the petrol over his work mate at Knottingley Club. (pics by Google Maps / PA)
Rhodes threw the petrol over his work mate at Knottingley Club. (pics by Google Maps / PA)
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But Judge Christopher Batty said he required evidence of that, which he indicated could be the only mitigating factor that may keep Rhodes from going directly to prison. He adjourned the case until April 15.