Landlord who torched his Grade II-listed pub in £1.4m blaze is jailed for more than three years


Landlord who posted ‘you don’t want to miss this’ hours before torching his Grade II-listed pub in £1.4m blaze is jailed for more than three years

  • Tim Sharp torched The Old Swan Inn in Gargrave after splitting from his partner 
  • The father of two bolted the doors to the pub and set 12 separate fires inside
  • He then climbed the fire escape to the roof where he slashed his wrists and neck
  • Lockdown put pressure on the pub and his relationship with Lindsay Williamson

A landlord who posted ‘you don’t want to miss this’ on social media just hours before torching his Yorkshire Dales pub has been jailed for more than three years.

Tim Sharp, 55, caused £1.4m damage to The Old Swan Inn in Gargrave after splitting from his landlady partner Lindsay Williamson.

The father of two bolted the doors to the Grade II-listed pub, set 12 separate fires inside and climbed the fire escape to the roof where he slashed his wrists and neck and hoped to die, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Only the immense bravery of five firefighters, who ignored their own safety, saved Sharp from the flames which were bursting through the roof.

The court heard that the Covid lockdown had put pressure on the business and his relationship and he believed his partner was having an affair with a man in the village.

Tim Sharp (right), 55, caused £1.4m damage to The Old Swan Inn in Gargrave after splitting from his landlady partner Lindsay Williamson (left)

Tim Sharp (right), 55, caused £1.4m damage to The Old Swan Inn in Gargrave after splitting from his landlady partner Lindsay Williamson (left)

During the afternoon of July 7, 2020, Sharp posted on the pub’s and his personal Facebook page: ‘So to all the gossipers and gobs****s in this village, and there is plenty of them. The truth will be told later today. And I have all the proof of that. 

‘So stay tuned in as will be going live on Facebook tonight. Believe me you don’t want to miss this Tim x’

Prosecutor Laura Addy said Sharp, from the Isle of Man, started a romantic relationship with Lindsay Williamson in 2017 and they bought the pub together. They lived in the property together with a chef and barman.

However, Sharp, who had mental health issues, stopped taking his medication and his behaviour became ‘erratic and argumentative’.

He would spend much of his time upstairs and when he did come down he would swear at the customers.

Miss Williamson ended their romantic relationship and she moved out, but they continued to work together.

The father of two bolted the doors to the Grade II-listed pub, set 12 separate fires inside and climbed the fire escape to the roof where he slashed his wrists and neck and hoped to die

The father of two bolted the doors to the Grade II-listed pub, set 12 separate fires inside and climbed the fire escape to the roof where he slashed his wrists and neck and hoped to die

During the afternoon of July 7, 2020, Sharp posted on the pub’s and his personal Facebook page

During the afternoon of July 7, 2020, Sharp posted on the pub’s and his personal Facebook page

‘The defendant believed she was having an affair with a customer,’ Miss Addy told the court.

On July 7, Sharp asked her to collect all her belongings from the pub. He was angry and told her ‘she had ruined his life and that he loved her.’

He made a final call to her at 5.20pm, while she could hear what she thought was running water, and he told her that she would never see him again.

He had ensured the pub was empty, lit 12 fires and then went to the roof with a Stanley knife which he used to slit his wrists and neck.

Miss Williamson’s son and his friend tried to rescue Sharp but were beaten back by the flames.

‘He was covered in blood from head to toe,’ said Miss Addy.

Only the immense bravery of five firefighters, who ignored their own safety, saved Sharp from the flames which were bursting through the roof

Only the immense bravery of five firefighters, who ignored their own safety, saved Sharp from the flames which were bursting through the roof

The five firefighters joined him on the roof and struggled to stand because of the amount of blood.

Despite a fire official blowing the whistle to order them down, they bravely ignored the warning and got Sharp to safety – risking their own lives. Fire engulfed the roof only moments after the rescue, the court heard.

Mitigating Christopher Styles said Sharp has suffered permanent and irreversible damage to his lungs and will be on medication for the rest of his life.

He said Sharp is ‘extremely remorseful and genuinely ashamed of what he did.’

Sharp pleaded guilty to arson and was jailed for 40 months.

Judge Jonathan Rose said the arson was pre-planned, illustrated by the Facebook post earlier that day.

As well as the jail term, there is a restraining order against Sharp contacting Miss Williamson or posting comments about her on social media.

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