Judges throw out arsonist’s appeal over attack on former girlfriend
8:14am Saturday 9th February 2013 in News
A DANGEROUS arsonist who set fire to his ex-girlfriend’s home after she refused to get back together with him deserved a potentially lifelong sentence, appeal court judges have ruled.
Wayne Aaron Barlow, aged 38, of no fixed address, was given an open-ended jail term — almost exactly the same as a life sentence — after he admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered last year.
Barlow, who was jailed for public protection after setting fire to wheelie bins and causing a fire at his exgirlfriend’s semi-detached home in Atherton, was ordered to serve at least two-and-a-half years.
Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart said Barlow had been in a relationship with the woman for three years before they separated.
Last June, Barlow phoned her and told her he was outside her house. She had gone out but told him she was at home.
“Barlow then set fire to wheelie bins at the back of the house. Fortunately the neighbours saw the fire and alerted the emergency services,” the judge added.
The blaze spread to the house and “extensive damage” was caused to the rear of the building, including a bedroom window.
Barlow’s ex said she “feared for the safety of herself and her children”.
He had convictions for 30 previous offences, including theft, burglary, assault and one count of arson in 1990.
Before he was sentenced, a psychiatrist said he had a borderline personality disorder and was prone to “abusive and aggressive behaviour towards women”.
On appeal, Barlow’s lawyers said the judge had been wrong to brand him dangerous after mistakenly referring to some non-existent previous convictions.
Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart, sitting with Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Irwin, rejected the appeal, saying: “In our view, until the appellant could control his alcohol and drug misuse, it was appropriate for the judge to conclude the public requires protection against the high risk he presents. And in light of the circumstances of the offence — that it involved a detached property in which others were living — we consider the minimum term was entirely appropriate.”