AN ARSONIST warned his victim that if he upset him again “he would be dead”.
The telephone threat was made to Ian Hughes the day after his wife had returned home to find the utility room at their home ablaze.
Prosecutor James Neary told Prestatyn magistrates that as Dawn Hughes pulled into the driveway of their house in Tan yr Allt, Meliden, on November 18 she spotted a petrol can which did not belong to them and then saw that the utility room attached to the house was well alight.
At first she tried to put out the fire herself but firefighters were able to put it out within minutes of their arrival.
The roof of the building, washing-machine and tumble drier were all destroyed.
The following morning Ian Hughes was told by a friend that he had received a phone call stating: “Tell Benny” (as Mr Hughes was known) “that if he treads on my toes again he is dead.”
A witness told police that a vehicle matching the description of Alan O’Reilly’s car had been seen in the area but when interviewed denied being involved.
He denied having been in the area but when told that his DNA had been found on the petrol can and his phone records showed he had been in the area he refused to comment any further.
Mr Neary told the court: “We don’t know what the motive was but it was likely to arise from a business relationship.”
He said O’Reilly would not have known whether there was anyone in the house at the time, adding: “It was by sheer good fortune that Mrs Hughes came home when she did and was able to have the fire put out.”
O’Reilly, 42, of Clwyd Park, Kinmel Bay, pleaded guilty to arson and was committed for sentence at Mold Crown Court, where he will appear on March 6.