Three con­victed over house blaze

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - FRONT PAGE - Grant McCabe

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

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