A man who doused himself in petrol outside his ex-partner’s home and started a fire after their break-up could have “gone up like a torch” a court heard.
James Bains, who works for a firm that produces face masks for NHS staff, was heard to shout: “You ******* did it,” while clutching a petrol can and a fire lighter outside the woman’s house in Douglas on Wednesday.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard Bains was witnessed by neighbours starting a fire outside the woman’s home.
Bains is currently furloughed from his job as a weaver with Don & Low, a Forfar-based company that produces medical masks.
The 38-year-old pleaded guilty to the offence from custody where a sheriff blasted his reckless conduct.
Sheriff George Way said: “This is a serious matter. He could have gone up like a torch.”
It was revealed that the woman had allowed Bains to attend her property in order to collect belongings after recently splitting up.
Fiscal depute John Richardson said: “At about 9pm, the complainer sent him a message asking if he was outside.
“The accused said he was. The complainer then goes out to the balcony and observes the accused standing there alone.
“She also noticed that he appeared to have a petrol can in one hand and a lighter in another.”
The woman phoned the police and a neighbour from a joining property heard Bains shouting: “You ******* did it.”
Bains appeared to be under the influence and began to walk away. However, the woman could see a small fire where Bains had been standing.
Police attended and traced Bains and noticed that his clothing was smelling strongly of petrol.
In response to being cautioned and charged, he said: “I poured it on myself, no-one else.”
Bains, whose address was given as the Lily Walker Centre, Ann Street, pleaded guilty to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner on April 22 on Ballindean Place by shouting, swearing, lighting a fire outside his former partner’s house, standing next to the fire having covered himself in petrol and being in possession of a fire lighter and a petrol can.
The offence was aggravated by the abuse of a partner or an ex-partner.
Defence solicitor Scott Norrie said it was his belief the incident was a “cry for help.”
Mr Norrie said: “He normally works as a weaver. As part of that he works on making masks for medical purposes. He is currently furloughed but he expects to be recalled for that.
“He was depressed, he had taken alcohol during the day. He was upset at the breakdown of the relationship, being furloughed from his workplace and being effectively homeless.
“He acted in this manner that he accepts was utterly foolish, dangerous. He was feeling very low at the time.”
Mr Norrie argued that despite having previous convictions, Bains was a suitable candidate for bail considering he would soon be called back to work on producing medical masks.
Sheriff Way deferred sentence on Bains for social work reports. Bains was released on bail with conditions not to enter Ballindean Place and not to approach or contact the woman.