Man Who Burnt Down Gay Club In Derry Sentenced To Five Years In Jail

Man Who Burnt Down Gay Club In Derry Sentenced To Five Years In Jail
Image: Screen grab from BBC report of fire at Envy Nightclub 2020. Image BBC.

Sebastian Prokop, the man who told police “I don’t like gays” has been sentenced to five years in jail following the arson attack on a popular LGBTQI bar Envy Nightclub in Derry, Northern Ireland in 2020.

The 24-year-old man from Crawford Square, Derry also faces deportation from Northern Ireland to his homeland, Poland as a result of the sentence. He will serve half of his five-year sentence in custody and the rest on license.

The jury found Prokop unanimously guilty for the destruction of the Envy Nightclub on Strand Road. The man committed the arson in the early hours of the morning on January 9, 2020.

Prokop had been recorded on CCTV cameras and seen climbing an external stairway and entering the third storey of the building. After a few minutes, the cameras found him descending the same external stairway and leaving the venue with the fire occurring shortly afterwards.

The footage also showed that the arsonist took off the cap that he was wearing and this was later recovered by police, with Prokop’s DNA found on it following forensic examination.

Prokop Had Malicious Intentions

Prokop did not give evidence at his trial in June, despite telling the court that he was “a homosexual-sexual.” He also told the court during his time in the witness box that he had planned it “because it’s a homosexual club.”

He revealed that the fire started after he lit bins on the third storey with a lighter. Defence barrister Sean Doherty, who had initially said that there was no evidence that Prokop was hostile to the LGBTQI community, was blind-sided by Prokop’s testimony.

“What he’s telling the court now is contrary to his instructions to me earlier today,” Doherty said.

Judge Satisfied With Evidence

Judge Philip Gilpin stated that with the evidence, it was clear that the arson attack by Prokop was premeditated and an act of hostility towards the LGBTQI community.

“Having heard from the police during your trial and now from you this morning I am satisfied that this element of hostility was present and is to be considered an aggravating feature,” Gilpin said.

The damages from the resulting arson attack on the Envy Nightclub are estimated at £250,000 ($424,070 AUS) and the building has since been demolished.

You May Also Like

Comments are closed.