ROW LED TO FIRE ATTACK
Three convicted over house blaze
Three men took part in torching a former soldier’s car – in an apparent row over a load of wood.
Christopher Harkins, 34; James O’Brien, 23; and Stephen Garrity, 24; were convicted of wilful fire- raising after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.
The trio targeted Andrew Patterson at his home in Annan last November.
Mr Patterson’s BMW Gran Turismo – which he had imported from Germany – was set alight with the blaze spreading to his home.
Both the car and house were badly damaged.
Mr Patterson and his family had to flee to safety.
The court heard he had run a firewood company which hit money troubles.
Mr Patterson had earlier sold Harkins £250 worth of wood.
There was a separate issue over a van Harkins had bought from him.
Harkins had also sent a text to Mr Patterson stating: “You’re a dafty, pal.”
In a police interview, Garrity said he had travelled from Dumfries to Annan with Harkins and O’Brien. He stated he had been offered £50 to start a fire. Garrity denied torching the BMW – instead insisting he had poured petrol on Mr Patterson’s driveway before setting it alight.
He added: “Chris told me to get out and do it. He said he had dealings with the guy and he had stolen wood from him.
“He told me to pour petrol at the back of the driveway. James showed me where the house was.
“I used a lighter to ignite it. After I came back to the van, Chris said: ‘That’ll give him a scare’.”
Garrity claimed he was “in tears” the next day when he found out on Facebook the extent of the damage.
Lord Beckett deferred sentencing on the trio, all from Dumfries, until a later date.
Gutted The badly damaged Annan house after the fire
Petrol Stephen Garrity
Flames The blaze engulfs the house in Annan
Destroyed The remains of the BMW car in the driveway of the house