Man set police van on fire at Bristol riot and used officer's shield to fan flames

  • CCTV footage shows moment man sets police van on fire

A man who set a police van on fire and used a riot shield to fan the flames has admitted charges of riot and arson.

Matthew O'Neill, 30, also used a police shield and baton to attack Avon and Somerset Police officers and cause damage to Bridewell Police Station.

He was then caught on camera using a chair to smash the windscreen of a burning police van during a riot in Bristol on March 21 last year.

O'Neill, of Patchway in South Gloucestershire, admitted charges of riot and arson on what would have been day one of his trial at Bristol Crown Court today (April 11).

Matthew O'Neill will be sentenced next month Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Det Supt James Riccio said: “Matthew O’Neill engaged in some of the more serious violence and destruction which occurred on that shameful night.

“He chose to use the uncontrollable weapon of fire, showing no regard to the safety or welfare of others.  

“O’Neill is the seventeenth person to be convicted of offences in connection with the riot and the change in plea is testament to the compelling visual evidence against him, meticulously collated by our team of investigators.” 

O’Neill is due to be sentenced on Monday 23 May.