Man sent to prison after starting “terrifing” car fire

A man has been jailed for 15 months for torching his ex-girlfriend’s car outside her house as she slept.

Martyn McDonald, 28, lit a fire in a plastic tray and put it under the young woman’s Ford Fiesta after an argument.

The car was parked outside the front of her home in Barley Field Square, Wheatley, Halifax, where she was asleep upstairs.

Bradford Crown Court heard the fire took hold and burned for up to 15 minutes before firefighters arrived.

McDonald, who had been drinking before the incident in the early hours of March 12, banged on the young woman’s door to alert her to the fire.

Giving evidence at his trial, she said she had been terrified.

McDonald then tried to smash the driver’s window so he could move it away from the house.

The car, worth up to £4,000, was written off. McDonald denied arson with intent to destroy or damage property, but was found guilty by a jury.

Stephen Wood, defending, said: “This was a spontaneous act of stupidity.

“There is no evidence of planning or premeditation and there were no accelerants used.”

McDonald, who now lives in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, admitted breaching a non- molestation order his ex-girlfriend took out against him.

The court heard he moved back in with her for a while so they could make a go of it for the sake of their daughter, but could not afford to seek a solicitor’s advice about it.

Sentencing him, Judge John Potter said McDonald had a history of controlling and threatening behaviour in the relationship.

He said: “You have not shown one shred of remorse for an act which placed a young woman in her own home in significant danger.”