Daventry father jailed after nearly blowing up flat in four-hour stand-off with emergency services

Malaber, who has serious mental health issues, threatened to microwave three gas canisters and set fire to his kitchen

A Daventry father with serious mental health issues has been jailed for three years after nearly blowing up his flat in a four-hour stand-off with the emergency services.

Robert Malaber threatened to microwave three gas canisters and shouted, 'it's going to blow,' but fortunately the appliance was not switched on when police stormed in in July.

The 40-year-old man also set several fires in the kitchen of his Bramley House flat in Brook Street, threw things out of the window, which he also smashed, and made various threats.

Robert Malaber. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

The building had been evacuated while police negotiators tried to talk him down during the incident, which ended up causing £7,300-worth of damage.

Malaber has since been diagnosed with a personality disorder and his mental health had severely deteriorated leading up to the incident, Northampton Crown Court heard on Friday, (October 29).

Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking told him: "You carried out a very serious offence, in fact the offence is so serious that nothing other than an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate."

On July 20, a neighbour called 999 after reading a strange notice on Malaber's front door saying there were toxic substances inside and not to enter, the court heard.

The police negotiators 'did their best to bring matters to a safe conclusion' alongside four fire engine crews who evacuated the building.

The defendant was aggressive towards them, saying he had booby-trapped his flat and had a dead man's switch.

The father-of-one then started throwing items out of the window, one of which landed on a car, before smashing the glass pane with a hammer.

Malaber then said: "It's going to blow," referring to the gas canisters in the microwave, but firefighters forced entry when they saw smoke coming out of the flat.

Had they been in the microwave when it was switched on, there would have been a significant risk of an explosion which might have resulted in loss of life.

Malaber was arrested and pleaded guilty to aggravated arson - he told the Probation Service his mental health had suffered ever since losing his baby in October, 2019.

He then lost his job as a heating engineer because of Covid-19 and had a psychotic episode not long before the arson incident, leaving him feeling suicidal.

Judge Lucking criticised the defendant for endangering multiple people, using the emergency services' valuable time and resources and for hugely inconveniencing residents.

But the judge accepted Malaber is genuinely remorseful and was having to deal with 'an emotionally unstable personality disorder'.

"I hope you will continue to work with those services and can return to being the otherwise constructive and successful citizen you were for nearly 20 years," she told him.

If you are experiencing mental health issues and need to talk to someone, call Samaritans on 116 123 free.