A man who tried to set fire to the Scottish Parliament, held a large kitchen knife over his head and said he wanted the police to kill him has been jailed.
Piotr Swiatek had been drinking heavily for the two weeks leading up to the incident, which sparked a “major security alert” at Holyrood earlier this year.
The 31-year-old sprayed barbecue accelerant over the windows of Holyrood and tried to set fire to it with a lighter, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard.
When he was approached by police, he waved a knife over his head. He was then tackled to the ground, and officers disarmed him of two large kitchen knives and the accelerant.
Swiatek later told the police he had wanted to kill himself.
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Swiatek, from Livingston, was found guilty of attempted fire-raising and being in possession of a knife previously. Sentence had been deferred until yesterday for psychiatric and psychological reports.
Defence agent Joe Boyd told the court his client’s marriage had broken down and he had lost his job in the run-up to the incident on March 24.
He said: “He was a desperate, sad and lonely man and had been drinking heavily in his flat in Livingston for two weeks. He made a decision to go to the Scottish Parliament in an act of a desperate man.
He added his client was determined to never drink again – which had so far had a “positive factor” in his life.
Sheriff Gordon Liddle jailed Swiatek for 30 months and put him on a 12-month supervision order for after his release.
He told him: “You caused a major security alert. There was no way the authorities could know whether they were dealing with a terrorist incident.
“I am sure that members of the public, at that very busy place on a Saturday, were alarmed.
“It is simply not acceptable for you to act in such a dangerous and cavalier way and put forward as justification that you were having a particularly bad time.”