Belfast Telegraph

Man set fire to estranged wife's car as her children slept nearby, court hears

By Alan Erwin

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

Anthony Patton carried out the attack at Cloughey, Co Down, after the former couple split up, prosecutors claimed.

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

"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," he said.

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 call had been drinking with the accused that night. He claimed he acted in concern after hearing him say he was going to "burn that taig's car out".

The crime was allegedly carried out by Patton nine days after the couple, who married in April this year, separated.

Sean Mullan, defending, said his client accepted that the relationship was now over.

"He wants nothing more to do with (her)," the barrister told the court.

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."

Belfast Telegraph


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