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

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - GOR­DON CUR­RIE

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.

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