Man burned down nightclub and bricked pub to stop them asking for Covid-19 passports

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Owen Marshall, from Bristol, threw a brick through the window of the Barley Mow pub with a note attached claiming coronavirus vaccine passports were a breach of human rights

Owen Marshall has been jailed at Bristol Crown Court for six years
Owen Marshall was jailed for six years at Bristol Crown Court

A man ”obsessed” with pandemic restrictions who burned down a nightclub to stop them asking for Covid-19 passports for entry has been jailed for six years.

Owen Marshall set fire to a petrol-soaked towel and posted it through the letterbox of club SWX in Bristol.

He went on to deliver a letter to the home of Bristol mayor, Marvin Rees, claiming responsibility for the arson.

In the letter the 29-year-old said he wanted the attack to be a warning to other venues.

He later threw a brick through the window of the Barley Mow pub with a note attached claiming vaccine passports were a breach of human rights.

The SWX club was torched by Marshall
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Image:

Avon & Somerset Police / SWNS)

Then on August 2 this year Bristol nightclub Lakota received a handwritten saying it would “sustain substantial damage like SWX” if it introduced Covid passports.

Officers tracked the movements of a man seen starting the fire back to a shop where Marshall had bought a box of matches.

He was subsequently identified following a public appeal and he was arrested.

Marshall pleaded guilty to charges of arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered, criminal damage and making threats to cause criminal damage at a hearing at Bristol Crown Court in September.

He was then sentenced for the three offences at the same court on Wednesday.

Marshall was captured on CCTV outside SWX
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Image:

Avon & Somerset Police / SWNS)

The letter the arsonist sent to Lakota nightclub
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Image:

PA)

Following the sentencing PC David Stevenson said: “Owen Mashall’s actions were motivated by the completely misguided belief the venues he targeted were about to introduce Covid vaccine passports

“His obsession with Covid restrictions ultimately led him to carrying out the extremely reckless attack on SWX and it is only through sheer luck no one was physically harmed.

“Staff had been at the venue just hours before and they could easily still have been inside when he used an accelerant to start the fire.

“More than 130 fire service personnel were also put at risk tackling the resulting blaze which took several hours to extinguish.”

Marshall also sent a warning note to the Barley Mow pub
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Image:

PA)

He added: “The attack has had a devastating impact on the club and the three businesses based below it with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage and lost revenue caused.

“These were businesses which had all suffered as result of the pandemic and which were looking forward to serving their community once more only for their livelihoods to again be put in jeopardy.

“While Marshall has never explained his actions, I am pleased he ultimately accepted responsibility as it negated the need for a trial.”

The attack on SWX took place a week before it was due to reopen in July following months of Covid restrictions.

At the time Mayor Rees said it was “such sad news for Bristol’s night time economy” as the industry sought to recover from a tough year.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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