A flawed hero who saved a barful of people from a burning flare was jailed for eight months on Thursday – because he went outside and hurled it at the heads of three visiting football supporters.
Jamie Newbigging “acted in an instant” when the flare was thrown into the Newtown Bar in Bo’ness as a group of visiting fans gathered outside.
He risked his own safety by carrying it out as the bar filled with smoke – but seconds later was arrested after ignoring police orders to drop the device.
Stirling Sheriff Court was told the incident occurred on October 12 last year, shortly after the final whistle in a Scottish Junior Cup first round replay between Bo’ness Juniors and Bonnyrigg Rose –which Bo’ness won 1-0.
Dev Kapadia, prosecuting, said police had received “a considerable amount of intelligence” there would be disorder at the game.
At half time there was a small amount of disorder within the Newtown Bar which police dealt with.
Mr Kapadia said that after the game a barmaid in the pub “suddenly became aware of a bright orange light” in the bar, which was being held by another man.
He dropped the flare and the barmaid saw Newbigging picking it up and carrying it outside, where visiting supporters were gathered.
Mr Kapadia said: “Police outside saw Mr Newbigging exiting the bar with the flare in his hand.”
Police Constable William Shearer instructed him to put the flare down where he was standing but the accused threw the flare towards a group of three males, at head height, who were about 12 feet away.
Newbigging was arrested and placed, struggling, into a police van while the group of three whom he had thrown the flare at ran off.
Newbigging (29), from Bo’ness, pleaded guilty to culpable recklessness and resisting, obstructing and hindering police.
Solicitor-advocate Neil Hay, defending, said Newbigging had a football-related conviction dating from 2006.
He had gone to the pub rather than the match in order to avoid football-related trouble.
He said: “He was having a drink with friends, behaving himself quite properly,when this lit article landed at his feet well ablaze.
“I have seen a DVD of what happened and it must have been a most shocking and unpleasant event. There was smoke everywhere – he was unable to see for smoke.
“It was a spontaneous act on his part, which he cannot explain.
“It wasn’t, in my opinion, a football-related offence.”
Sheriff Wyllie Robertson heard that Newbigging had been in custody in relation to the incident ever since his arrest.
He backdated the eight month jail sentence imposed to October 14, meaning Newbigging will be free in about a fortnight.
He told him: “If you had brought the flare with you, given your record, you could have expected a sentence at the upper end of my solemn powers, at the very least.
“You didn’t bring it with you – you didn’t set it off.
“You undid all the good that you had done inside the bar.
“I am prepared to reflect your commendable actions inside the bar by restricting the sentence to eight months.”