Cannabis oil maker jailed over explosion which demolished two Bristol flats causing £260k damage

A cannabis oil maker has been jailed over an explosion which demolished two Bristol City Council flats and caused damage worth £260,000.

James Toogood was jailed for eight years and six months. Credit: Bristol Live

James Toogood accidentally blew up the flats in Whitchurch Lane, Hartcliffe in February last year (2019) after attempting to make butane hash oil.

The damage from the explosion was worth £260,000. Credit: Bristol Live

Witnesses described how they heard a large boom before seeing the 36-year-old appear from the debris with his clothes on fire. He claimed he had just been cooking.

A jury at Bristol Crown Court heard how James Toogood was using butane gas to try and extract the oil from cannabis.

The Felton resident was found guilty of damaging property and being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

The explosion and resulting fire blew up the front of a block of flats inWhitchurch Lane just before 8pm on February 23 2019, causingseveral casualties.

No-one was killed or seriously injured.

One woman used a trampoline to escape from the burning building.

The property exploded after Toogood ignited butane hash oil in his kitchen. Credit: Bristol Live

Toogood pleaded guilty to producing a Class B drug. He was jailed for eight years and six months.

Laura Hawkins, who also lived in the house, was found guilty of permitting a property to be used for the production of a Class B drug. She was jailed for 15 months.

The trial uncovered how butane exploded in Hawkin's kitchen rupturing the mains gas pipe and starting a fire.

One neighbour had to escape using a trampoline. Credit: Bristol Live

Toogood's next-door neighbour, Kirstie Dukes, who lived with her four-year-old daughter, told the jury how Toogood had once shown her a container like a large soup pan which was a sticky substance called “Shatter”.

Toogood had told her it was a way of making cannabis “more expensive”.

Ms Dukes said on the night the explosion happened she got home at around 6.30pm and was getting her daughter ready for bed.

Toogood had said he was just cooking. Credit: Bristol Live

She said she then saw the flat next to her missing, and Toogood emerge with his shirt on fire.

Her partner, Ricky Lee Bourton, retrieved Toogood out of thebuilding. They rolled him on the ground to put the flames out. Mr Burton described how he was 'dazed' throughout.

He then helped resident Laura Pearson to jump from an upstairs flatonto a trampoline.

It was reported that Laura Hawkins then emerged looking like she was in shock and in pain, carrying her dog.

A second, smaller explosion then sounded, according to Mr Bourton.

Toogood declined to give evidence.