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Belfast man jailed after blowing up own living room in 'drugs experiment'

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The scene of the explosion at a house on Bloomfield Road on May 15, 2019

The scene of the explosion at a house on Bloomfield Road on May 15, 2019

The scene of the explosion at a house on Bloomfield Road on May 15, 2019

A 32-year old east Belfast man who blew up his own living room whilst experimenting with drugs was handed a 27-month sentence on Friday.


Following the explosion at David Osbourne's Bloomfield Road home last May police found cannabis, MDMA, a stun gun and gas cylinders - as well as the injured occupant.

Osborne appeared at a remote hearing via a videolink with Maghaberry, where he has been held since his arrest. He was told he will serve half his sentence in custody, with the remaining half on licence.

Judge David McFarland said it appeared the explosion was caused "by some sort of experimentation in relation to drugs" and that Osbourne had an "unhealthy interest in weapons."

Police and the Fire Service were called to Osbourne's property on May 15, 2019 following reports of an explosion. The front windows were blown out and Osbourne was present suffering from burn injuries.

It's the Crown's case that Osbourne was using his living room as a laboratory, and present in the room were gas cannisters and an unknown liquid, as well as MDMA crystals.

Around 30 cannabis plants were also located with growing equipment, and the Class C drug was also present in herbal and oil form in various rooms.

Police seized £395 and an illegal stun gun along with a de-activated Beretta, which had a fully functional magazine. Also present in the premises were two BB guns, knives, a starter pistol, a knuckleduster, an axe and a crossbow.

When Osborne was arrested, he gave a 'no comment' response to police. He was arraigned and pleaded guilty to five offences on Friday - namely cultivating and supplying cannabis, possessing MDMA, possessing the magazine in suspicious circumstances and possessing the stun-gun.

In defence submissions handed to the court, barrister Mark Farrell said his client accepted the Crown case. Revealing Osbourne was "dependant on cannabis" and has poor mental health, the barrister said he sold on a social scale to fund his own habit.

At a previous bail hearing last year, Mr Farrell addressed the explosion and said Osbourne had been using butane gas in a bid to extract concentrated cannabis oil.

At that hearing, Mr Farrell described what happened as "not a Breaking Bad-type scenario" and said Osborne "hadn't a clue what he was doing and the whole thing backfired on him."

During Friday's sentencing, Judge McFarland said no charges arose from the explosion which appeared to been caused by a drugs experimentation.

Regarding the possession of the stun-gun and magazine - coupled with the presence of other items such as the BB guns - the Judge said, as no explanation has been given for these, he was sentencing on the grounds Osbourne "has an unhealthy interest in weapons", with "possible use as protection in his dealings with the drugs trade."

The Belfast Recorder added: "The court draws some comfort from his lack of convictions for crimes of violence and the fact this was not an intelligence-led police operation."

As well as sentencing Osbourne, Judge McFarland also ordered the destruction of all the items seized, and issued the £395 be paid to Addictions NI.

Belfast Telegraph