August 2023

Child sex offender put lives at risk after causing gas explosion when police came to arrest him

Officers attended the address, in Mansfield Woodhouse, to arrest 29-year-old Kyhl Sykes after reports he had sexually assaulted a girl.

They knocked on the door and shouted through the letterbox but Sykes, who was alone inside, didn’t answer.

When officers broke in through the front door they smelt gas.

As they entered, Sykes struck a match which caused a backdraft.

The kitchen door exploded open in front of police who swiftly exited the property in fear for their safety.

Neighbouring properties were evacuated before Sykes was arrested and the house was made safe.

Sykes suffered burns to his face and hands during the incident which happened on February 16. Fortunately, no-one else was injured.

The day before, Sykes had engaged in sexual activity with a girl and his offending was reported to police.

At Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday, August 10, prosecutor Steven Bailey said Sykes had groomed the girl and built up her trust before abusing her.

The court heard Sykes had also taken photographs of the girl, when she didn’t know what was happening, and had sent pictures and messages to her which caused her to feel worried and confused.

He also searched for pictures of young girls on the Internet and was found in possession of 20 indecent Category C images of a child.

Sykes, of Mansfield Woodhouse, pleaded guilty to charges of arson with recklessness as to whether life was endangered, two counts of engaging in sexual activity with a girl and a further count of making indecent photographs of a child.

Jailing Sykes for a total of six-and-a-half years, Judge Stuart Rafferty KC, said: “You abused this girl and treated her as an object. You began to groom her and encouraged her to have feelings about you by telling her you had feelings for her, in a wholly improper way.”

In respect of the arson, Judge Rafferty told Sykes: “Fortunately for you, the police arrived before the house began to fill with gas.

“It’s perfectly obvious from their radio communications and shouting through the letterbox that you were in no doubt the police were coming into the house.

“You utterly selfishly struck the match. The backdraft could easily have been a fireball had time gone on. If the police had come about half-an-hour later you would have blown them, the house, yourself, and other people to kingdom come.”

Sykes received four-and-a-half years in prison for the sexual activity offences and two years, to be served consecutively, for the arson offence. He was handed a three-month concurrent sentence for the possession of indecent images.

He was also made subject of a 10-year restraining order and will be a notifying sex offender for life.