THIS is the dramatic moment when bitter husband Andrew McGarry drove his car into the front of his estranged wife’s home in a bid to destroy the house—and end his own life.
Yesterday at Bolton Crown Court, architect McGarry was sentenced to eight years in jail, with a further three years on licence for public protection.
The court had heard he was so furious about the break-up of his six-year marriage that he was determined his wife, Heather, would not keep their matrimonial home.
So, at 7pm on July 24 last year, he ploughed the family Vauxhall Zafira into their end-terraced house in Victoria Road, Horwich — while his wife and their three young children were inside.
The garden wall was demolished and the living room window caught fire. His son was in the room when the car ploughed into the house but fortunately no-one was injured.
Mrs McGarry managed to usher the children out of the back door.
Judge Timothy Clayson told McGarry: “You were plainly deeply frustrated, angry and annoyed at the break-up of your marriage.
“It is clear to me you are someone with a very controlling, rigid, personality which results in your putting your own interests, feelings and desires ahead of those of others.”
He added 37-year-old McGarry’s actions had had a “deeply psychological impact” upon Mrs McGarry and her son. The judge said McGarry posed a serious risk of harm to members of the public, particularly female partners.
McGarry, of Croyde Close, Harwood, had earlier pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life and breaching a non-molestation order. The court had been told how McGarry had not checked whether anyone was inside the house before setting light to the passenger footwell of the Zafira.
The moment it smashed into the house was captured on CCTV and McGarry can be seen clambering out of the blazing vehicle only to climb back inside it again.
His defence barrister, Wayne Jackson claimed, it was an attempt to end his own life in the flames.
Seconds later he again got out of the car and witnesses told police he calmly walked away from the wreckage, telling one, “She’s not having the house. He told another: “I couldn’t have hoped for it to go any better”.
Judge Clayson said McGarry’s comments were a “further indication of the fixation you (McGarry) had in seeking to inflict damage on your former wife”.
Amos Waldman, prosecuting, had told the court how McGarry met his wife in 2005 and they married the following year after the birth of the first of their three children, now aged six, four and two. McGarry already had two older children from a previous relationship.
But the court heard the relationship became violent and abusive and when it broke down Mrs McGarry was granted a court non-molestation order in June last year prohibiting her husband from contacting her.
The following month he breached it by driving near her house and getting an intermediary to take a letter to her.
Two weeks later McGarry, who had campaigned for road safety measures to be introduced in Victoria Road, drove into the house.
The court was told there was no proof McGarry had deliberately cancelled a house insurance policy shortly before committing the crime, leaving Mrs McGarry unable to fully repair the damage, which includes needing to replace the front window and rebuilding the garden wall.
Mr Jackson had told the court McGarry had a personality change after suffering brain damage in an accident when he was aged 16 but had managed to make a successful career despite his problems and was even working while in prison awaiting sentence.
Judge Clayson also made an indefinite restraining order prohibiting McGarry from having any contact with his wife, their children or going near the Victoria Road house.
She who is now in the process of divorcing him.