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Homeless man jailed for 10 years for setting police officer on FIRE

Homeless man is jailed for more than 10 years for dousing a police officer with petrol and setting him on FIRE after he tried to evict him from a campsite

  • Blagovest Hadjigueorguiev, 30, has been jailed for 10 years for attack on police
  • PC Darral Mares, 51, suffered horrific burns when he was set on fire in eviction
  • The ‘wicked’ and ‘deliberate’ attack took place in Newquay, Cornwall on Sept 11

A homeless man has been jailed for more than 10 years for dousing a police officer with petrol and setting him on fire after he tried to evict him from a campsite. 

Blagovest Hadjigueorguiev, 30, has been jailed for 10 years and six months for setting a police officer on fire when he was being evicted from a campsite in Cornwall

Blagovest Hadjigueorguiev, 30, has been jailed for 10 years and six months for dousing PC Darral Mares and PC Alan Lenton in petrol as they assisted with an eviction in Newquay, Cornwall.

Police constable Darral Mares suffered horrific burns when he was set alight by Hadjigueorguiev in the attack on September 11. 

Delivering the sentence in Truro Crown Court, Judge Linford described the attack as a ‘wicked, deliberate and extremely violent act on a man who previously tried to help’.

The court heard how PC Mares had previously tried to help Hadjigueorguiev, a Bulgarian national of no fixed abode, with housing.   

PC Darral Mares, 51, was engulfed by flames and sustained severe burns to his legs and hand and is still recovering from the attack.

A second police officer, PC Alan Lenton, who was not injured in the attack, grabbed his colleague, pulled him away from the fire and rolled him in long grass to extinguish the flames.

PC Darral Mares, 51, was engulfed by flames and sustained severe burns to his legs and hand and is still recovering from the attack

He removed burnt clothing from PC Mares before handcuffing Hadjigueorguiev who had been restrained by two bailiffs at the scene. 

In a statement issued through Devon and Cornwall Police, PC Mares said his recovery was still ongoing and his priority was to return to ‘full physical fitness’.

He thanked wellwishers across the world for their ‘humbling’ support as well as his family and the ‘incredible NHS staff’ at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and Derriford Burns Unit.

‘We have been overwhelmed with the support from my colleagues, friends and the local community,’ PC Mares said.

PC Mares was airlifted to hospital following the incident on the morning of September 11, in Newquay, Cornwall (pictured)

‘I have received numerous kind gifts, videos and written messages of goodwill from persons unknown to me from all over the UK and as far away as Australia.

‘This has been not only very humbling but a beneficial distraction to the incident.

‘Sadly, since my incident, officers in London were subject to an attack and more prominently in the news was the tragic death of Sergeant Matt Ratana who was shot dead on duty in Croydon.

‘Officers and staff know they have to take risks on occasions and understand that it comes with the nature of policing, but being assaulted on duty should never be condoned and seen as ‘part of the job’.’

Army veteran PC Mares is a popular and well known officer in the town and has been in the police force for 18 years. 

PC Lenton, who was issued a commendation by the judge at Truro Crown Court for his selfless actions, said Hadjigueorguiev’s actions ‘will always live with us’.

He said he was looking forward to PC Mares’s ‘humour and camaraderie’ when he returns to the office.

‘I would be like to take this opportunity to extend both my and my family’s gratitude to colleagues and friends for their support following the assault,’ PC Lenton said.

‘To mention all those who have sent kind words and gifts would take too long, but they know who they are – thank you. The messages have helped massively.’

Army veteran PC Mares is a popular and well known officer in the town and has been in the police force for 18 years. 

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