A KINMEL Bay builder who launched an arson attack at the home of a former business partner – described as his best friend of 30 years – has been jailed for 32 months.
The bungalow was unoccupied at the time but defendant Alan O’Reilly, aged 42, was warned that his actions could have led to catastrophe and even loss of life.
His victim and his wife had been left terrified and bewildered at why he should do such a thing, Mold Crown Court was told.
O’Reilly of Clwyd Park, Kinmel Bay, a man of no previous convictions, was said to have acted while under the stress of financial problems and got it into his head that he was losing work to Ian Hughes.
One afternoon last November he started a fire at a wooden utility attached to his bungalow home at Tan yr Allt, Meliden.
He also sent his victim a message – that if he crossed him again then he would be dead.
Mrs Dawn Hughes came home with their child and discovered the fire and set about trying to extinguish the flames with a hose – which put her at risk because electrical items were ablaze.
The defendant was arrested after his DNA was found on a green plastic fuel can left on the driveway.
O’Reilly admitted a charge of arson, being reckless whether the lives of his victim and his family, neighbours or members of the emergency services would be endangered.
The court heard how the two men had been in business together for 11 years, until 2009, and the victim regarded the defendant as a friend.
Miss Downing told the following day, Mr Hughes received a message via a mutual friend that if he trod on his toes again then he would be dead.
Brian Treadwell, defending, said that his client was very apologetic.
The defendant had suffered “an emotional meltdown” under financial pressures and appreciated that he had acted reprehensibly.
It was his perception at the time that he had lost work to his friend, he went around to talk to him, there was no one at home and he started the fire.
There was another side to him which was shown in the numerous testimonials written on his behalf and by the friends who attended the public gallery to support him.