Fire threat father jailed

Paul Gray, of Eccleston Road, South Shore, appeared for sentencing at Preston Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to an offence of threatening to destroy or damage property. The 49-year-old was jailed for 14 months.
Paul Gray, of Eccleston Road, South Shore, appeared for sentencing at Preston Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to an offence of threatening to destroy or damage property. The 49-year-old was jailed for 14 months.
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A man who made a threat to set his home on fire, with his wife and her children inside, has been jailed.

Paul Gray made the comment just months after setting his wife’s wedding dress on fire using barbecue lighter fuel.

His behaviour was reported to the police by a babysitter who heard him making threats to set the home alight.

Gray, of Eccleston Road, South Shore, appeared for sentencing at Preston Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to an offence of threatening to destroy or damage property.

The 49-year-old was jailed for 14 months.

The court heard that the offence happened on April 10 this year.

He and his wife had married a year before and she had five children from a previous relationship.

Peter Barr, prosecuting, said the couple had normally lived together at a property on Caunce Street, Blackpool.

A domestic incident broke out around tea time on April 10.

The matter was brought to the attention of the police by a concerned babysitter who heard and saw what took place.

The court heard the defendant had said: “I’ll set the house on fire with you and the kids in it”.

Gray and his wife had left their home when the police arrived, but officers returned the following day to determine what had happened.

The court also heard that Gray had been given a community order last year for an arson offence in which he had set his wife’s wedding dress on fire in the rear yard, by using barbecue lighter fuel.

Jaime Hamilton, defending, said there were significant reasons which would allow the court to step back from passing an immediate prison sentence.

He said: “He has been on remand since April.

“He has already been punished for his offending and also, while in custody, he has suffered a family tragedy.”

Mr Hamilton said alcohol and associated problems with drinking have led him to appear in court.

He added: “If he can rid himself of his problems with alcohol, that would be of benefit to him and society as a whole.

“It would significantly reduce the risk of him re-offending.”

The judge, Recorder Fiona Ashworth, said it was a serious offence and his second arson sentence in months.