A judge has told a 27-year-old father he was lucky not to be jailed after starting a fire at his family home.
Bradford Crown Court heard this morning how drunken Stuart Dominiak set fire to one of his partner’s favourite cushions using a lighter after she and their three children had left the property in Lodge Close, Luddendenfoot, last July.
Although Dominiak put out the fire the incident in the living room of the townhouse property was said to have resulted in damage to furnishings estimated at around £3000.
The court heard that Dominiak was not happy when Suzanne Nolan asked him to turn down the music he was listening to so their baby could be put to bed and an argument started soon after.
Dominiak left the house for a time, but returned drunk and during a further row he set fire to a Louis Vitton bag he had given to Ms Nolan as a Christmas present.
It was after she had left the house with the three children that Dominiak started the fire in the living room.
In December Dominiak admitted a charge of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered with regard to the occupants of adjoining properties.
Judge Jonathan Rose said he had read a number of references which spoke highly of Dominiak but there was another deeply unpleasant and deeply troubling side to his character.
The judge said the fire may have been started out of “twisted revenge” against Ms Nolan for doing no more than asking him to turn down the music, but the risk of it spreading to the adjoining properties was obvious to any sensible person.
“You are able to control you drinking,” the judge told Dominiak.
“You are able to control your temper. You are able to control your behaviour but what you cannot, Mr Dominiak, with any confidence, is control fire because fire reaches a point, particularly in a home, where it is beyond control.”
The judge pointed out that Dominiak, now of Highfield Avenue, Greetland, Halifax, had caused distress and damage to his partner and children and it was all his fault.
Judge Rose said he was not sorry that Dominiak had spent an unpleasant 56 days in custody before being granted bail and he hoped that had been the “wake up call” he needed.
Barrister Jeremy Lindsay, for Dominiak, said his client had now stopped drinking and he stressed that the defendant had put out the fire himself after coming to his senses.
Judge Rose said the fact that Dominiak was drunk was no mitigation and told him he would be a “complete fool” to drink alcohol again.
Dominiak was sentenced to 12 months in jail, but Judge Rose suspended to term for two years.
The defendant will also have to do 280 hours unpaid work and be subject to a four-month electronically-monitored home curfew between 8pm and 5.30am.
Dominiak will also be supervised by the probation service for the next 18 months
Judge Rose, who also ordered Dominiak to pay £1500 compensation, said he wouldn’t get a second chance if he breached the orders.
“You can consider yourself very fortunate you are not returning to prison,” said the judge.