Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone teen set his mum on fire, court told

Woman seriously burned trying to stop son’s arson attack, court told

A man set his mother on fire in a rage over her refusal to take him to get food, the High Court heard yesterday.

Francis Devine (19) is accused of lighting her petrol-soaked arm as she tried to stop an attempted arson attack on her partner's van.

The woman suffered serious burns during the incident in Co Tyrone, a prosecuting lawyer said.

Devine, of Coney Park, Coalisland, is also alleged to have carried out a separate attack on his mother during a row over money.

He faces charges of grievous bodily harm with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and attempted arson.

Bail was refused after a judge decided a proposed address was not far enough away from the alleged victim.

The court heard Devine's mother told police he had assaulted her on June 28.

Kate McKay, prosecuting, said: “She said he was in a rage after she refused to take him into town to get food.

“He went into the garden, got a can of petrol and began to pour it over his mother's partner's van.

“In an attempt to stop him, his mother got petrol on her arm. Despite this, the applicant lit the petrol and his mother's arm was burned.”

The woman allegedly admitted being in fear of her son, claiming he twisted her arm back and injured her wrist during an argument earlier in the year.

Devine was arrested and admitted having taken drink and drugs during that incident, the court heard.

But he claimed to have only blocked a punch from his mother.

Devine said he had no memory of the alleged arson attempt but admitted to having a bad temper, Mrs McKay said.

She confirmed his mother has since made a withdrawal statement but was still expected to be summonsed as a witness.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd acknowledged the case had a “fairly depressing and bleak” background. He argued that Devine had gone back to live with his mother for four weeks, in breach of a previous court order, without any further incident.

“He missed his mother and she appears to have missed him as well,” he told the court.

Mr Boyd claimed past tensions had arisen over Devine wanting her to buy him drink.

The judge pointed out that rather than verbal abuse, the case involved an allegation of setting someone on fire.

Refusing the application, Lord Justice Coghlin said he was not persuaded that a proposed address in Pomeroy was far enough away from Devine's mother's home.

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