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Man set fire to estranged wife's car while children slept in house, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 04/07/2016

A man allegedly set fire to his estranged wife's car while her two children slept in the adjacent house, the High Court heard today.

Anthony Patton carried out the attack at Cloughey on the Ards Peninsula just over a week after the couple split out, prosecutors claimed.

The 29-year-old, of Bailie Gardens in Bangor, faces a charge of arson endangering life over the incident in the early hours of June 23.

He was granted bail but banned from any contact with the victim. Prosecution counsel Robin Steer said the woman was alerted in a phone call that Patton and a co-accused were on their way to "wreck her house".

Less than an hour later she allegedly spotted her husband walking away from her Shorelands Crescent property as smoke started coming out of the Vauxhall Zafira parked outside.

Her father then arrived and helped her put out the fire. A bag of charcoal taken from her shed had been put in the back seat of the vehicle to start the blaze, Mr Steer disclosed.

He said: "The car was parked with its nose right up against the front window of the house, and directly below the bedroom where (one) child was asleep."

Patton was arrested by police who found him hiding among undergrowth in Cloughey at around 4am, the court heard.

Madam Justice McBride was told the man who made the warning phone call said he had been drinking with the accused that night.

He claimed to have acted in concern after hearing Patton say he was going to "burn that taig's car out".

The alleged incident happened nine days after the couple separated. They were married in April this year, according to Mr Steer.

Sean Mullan, defending, said his client accepts the relationship is now over. "He wants nothing more to do with (her)," the barrister added.

Granting bail, the judge ruled that £2,000 in cash sureties must be provided.

She also ordered the accused: "You are not to attempt to see, speak to or contact either the injured party or co-accused."

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