The aftermath of the explosion on Whitchurch Lane in Hartcliffe

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One woman escaped the burning building by jumping from an upper floor on to a trampoline

A man who was using butane to make cannabis oil caused an explosion that destroyed two flats, a court has heard.

James Toogood, 36, was seen fleeing the burning building on Whitchurch Road in Bristol with his clothes on fire, a jury at Bristol Crown Court was told.

One woman escaped from the fire caused by the blast by jumping from an upper-floor flat on to a trampoline.

Mr Toogood denies damaging property being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

‘Shards and shards of glass’

Prosecuting, David Maunder said the explosion, just after 20:00 GMT on 23 February 2019, caused £260,000 of damage.

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James Toogood admits producing a Class B drug but denies charges related to the explosion

Witnesses saw Mr Toogood rolling on the grass outside the flats to put out his burning T-shirt, Mr Maunder told the court.

The defendant admits one charge of producing a Class B drug – cannabis oil – but has said he was not doing so when the explosion happened.

But Mr Maunder said the blast was caused by Mr Toogood accidentally igniting the butane he was using to extract the oil.

Fourteen butane canisters were found in the flat, Mr Maunder said.

Neighbour Kirstie Dukes told the jury she heard and felt the explosion.

“There were shards and shards of glass. I was wondering what on earth had happened,” she said.

Fellow defendant Laura Hawkins, 39, of Currells Lane in Felton, Bristol, denies allowing her flat to be used for the production of a Class B drug.

Mr Toogood, of the same address, also denies a charge of destroying property.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.


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