Man jailed for six years for terrorising a family - St Albans

12/11/2013

A Hoddesdon man, who kept police at bay as he threatened to burn down a house in the town, has been jailed for six years today, Tuesday, 12 November 2013.

Italian born Fiorenzo Buzzanca, a vegetable grower who has lived in the UK for 28 years, broke into the house on  17 April  this year.  In the hours that followed, he falsely imprisoned members of a family and doused the property in petrol. Police officers had to eventually force their way into the house and overpower the 41- year -old.

Today ,  Buzzanca appeared at St Albans Crown Court in custody following his arrest at the house six months ago. He admitted a string of offences including two offences of false imprisonment, damaging property, being reckless as to whether life was being endangered, threatening to destroy or damage property, affray, and breach of a non molestation order.

The court was told two young children, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were in the house when Buzzanca broke in and, after being rescued by police, were so traumatised neither could speak.

Justin Rouse prosecuting said it was early that morning when Buzzanca, of Stanstead Road in Hoddesdon, broke into the house in the town. He held a knife to the throat of a woman who was present, before bringing a can of petrol into the house. The woman managed to escape but Buzzanca barricaded himself in one bedroom with two young children. Police were alerted and rushed to the house.

At one point, the court heard officers could see Buzzanca inside the property waiving a petrol can at them. He was also seen wielding a knife.

The prosecutor said Buzzanca even asked officers if they had matches and refused to allow the children to leave.

He broke up furniture and tore up clothes, creating a pile which he doused in petrol. He blocked off a window by placing a wardrobe behind it.

Judge Andrew Bright QC hearing the case was told that Buzzanca had shouted to officers he was going to start a fire in three minutes.

Eventually police officers forced their way into the property and overpowered Buzzanca and arrested him.

The court was told a psychiatrist who had seen Buzzanca had concluded he was not suffering from any mental illness at the time.

However,  his barrister Rakesh Sharma said Buzzanca had been suffering from depression and stress at the time and had acted completely out of character that morning.

Passing sentence, Judge Bright told Buzzanca there had been a "significant degree of premeditation involved" in his attack on the house that morning.

He went on "In any view, what you did deserves a substantial custodial sentence."

The Judge said both children were deeply affected by what had happened in their home that morning.

"The evidence suggests both young children were so traumatised they found it difficult to speak."

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