Great Britain

Home damaged in blast as man made potent cannabis derivative

A MAN who was badly injured in an explosion as he tried to create a potent cannabis derivative in his kitchen has been jailed for 32 months.

Butane gas canisters used by Alistair Musham to convert cannabis bush into tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC or ‘Shatter’, caused the explosion which blew the windows out in the kitchen of his rented home.

Durham Crown Court heard the semi-detached property in Toft Crescent, Murton, also suffered some structural damage in the blast, on September 22, 2017.

Anne Richardson, prosecuting, said shortly after the blast, at 3.30pm, Musham placed items into his bin.

These were subsequently found to include ten butane gas canisters, a number of towels, and waste cannabis.

He then rang 999 to report the blast, saying one butane gas cannisters exploded alongside several others.

A neighbour, who was away from home when the explosion took place, returned to see curtains blowing from the shattered windows.

Musham called at her home in shock, with a blackened face, wearing only shorts.

Miss Richardson said he was on the phone to the ambulance service and due to his confused condition, the neighbour took the phone from him to complete the call.

Musham, who told her he had been filling his cigarette lighter, was seen by a paramedic and had to be detained for treatment in hospital.

Police found cannabis being grown in a bedroom and in the loft, while dried cannabis bush and a golden-brown substance, identified as THC, were also recovered.

Miss Richardson said a fire investigator and a police drug expert believed the explosion was caused by a build-up of butane gas in the kitchen as Musham was making THC.

Musham was considered lucky to have survived.

He said nothing in interview but in a defence statement claimed some items found at the property did not belong to him and a small amount of the drugs were for personal use, blaming an electrical fault for the blast.

Miss Richardson said repairs to the damaged property cost the landlord £10,543.

Musham, 33, of Kingston Road, Newcastle, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and cannabis production, but only indicated those pleas days before he was to have stood trial in July.

Ian Cook, mitigating, said a psychological report confirmed Musham is on the autism spectrum, to add to his adhd diagnosed aged ten.

Mt Cook said it led to him having problems being social active and his drug misuse could be linked to his social isolation.

But he accepted that he was engaging in, “a quite dangerous technology”.

Jailing Musham, Judge James Adkin told him: “In turning your house into a laboratory and filling an unventilated room with butane gas, you were posing a risk.

“You were lucky to survive, showing how dangerous it was to do what you were doing.”

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