Not proven verdict on couple on charge of wilful fireraising
Sheriff rejects Crown’s case that circumstantial evidence enough to establish couple started blaze which destroyed car
A woman said to have been seen driving off from the scene of a blaze with a sootstained bottle of white spirit has been cleared of firebombing her ex-partner’s car.
Bernadette Adams, 38, and her new partner David Taylor, 27, were spotted leaving the scene and were both found with traces of white spirit on their hands.
David Elliot’s car was destroyed in the blaze but Sheriff Lindsay Foulis found the charge of wilful fireraising against Adams and Taylor not proven at Perth Sheriff Court.
Their solicitors told a trial that there was no direct link to prove the accelerant had been used in the blaze or that either party had been involved.
Mr Elliot said he and Adams had an acrimonious relationship and told the trial: “My partner woke me up and said she heard a bang.
“I walked to the front door and saw an orange glow.
“When I opened the front door I saw my car in flames and, because of the heat from it, I couldn’t get out the front door.
“It was popping and exploding,” he said.
“It was well ablaze. You could tell the heat from it was intense. Within three minutes the whole of the car was a ball of flames.
“I got a fright so I ran back into the house.
“I had to chap the neighbours up to get them out.
“As I looked up the street I saw my ex-partner’s car driving away from the scene.
“I saw it for about 15 seconds. I shouted to the police and fire brigade that I had seen my ex-partner’s car.
“Maybe she wanted a good look at what she had done.
“I don’t know if the window had been smashed in and an accelerant put in from there. The car didn’t catch fire by itself.
“The car was a burnt-out charred mess. Some sort of fuel or something had been put on it.”
The court was told that a threequarter full bottle of white spirit was found in the couple’s car and it appeared to be covered in soot.
However, Sheriff Foulis rejected the Crown’s case that the circumstantial evidence was enough to establish the couple had started the blaze.
Adams did plead guilty to other charges arising from the incident.
She admitted neglecting two youngsters at an address in Aberuthven, on May 15 while she was reportedly 12 miles away in Perth.
Adams admitted exposing them to unnecessary suffering or injury.
She admitted leaving them in a house with clothes piled up on the floor, dangerous medicine within their reach, and exposed to a cat litter tray overflowing with excrement.
The charge stated she had left them in the care of a teenager.
Adams also admitted acting in a threatening or abusive manner towards Mr Elliot on December 15.
Sentence was deferred for six months for good behaviour.
Bernadette Adams: a charge of wilful fireraising against her was found not proven.