A pensioner said to be at an extraordinarily low emotional ebb set fire to his former’s partner’s country home in an act of revenge.
Nicholas Weaver, 68, attacked Patricia Oldfield and caused damage to her home at Llandrillo near Corwen. She was so terrified she fled to the home of a neighbour – but then smoke could be seen rising.
Mold Crown Court heard the insurance company could not yet put a value on the damage at Blaen y Pennant, but one option was demolition and a re-build.
Weaver, of Lime Grove at Elton, was jailed for two years on Monday (July 11) after he admitted assaulting his former partner and damaging a double glazed window, ornaments and an ornamental telephone box on March 11.
Lost his temper
Judge Niclas Parry said Weaver lost his temper completely and made a life-time restraining order not to approach Mrs Oldfield or her address.
“This was effectively a revenge attack on the home of a person with whom you previously had a relationship and who had been good to you,” he said.
During a prolonged incident “you argued, you head-butted your victim causing minor injury before losing your temper completely, causing damage and threatening to kill her.”
He produced a lump hammer and threatened to cause further damage.
Ran to neighbour's house
“She was so terrified she ran to a neighbour’s house, fearing what you might do next. What you did was a complete over-reaction to any complaint you may have had and set fire to your victim’s home.”
Judge Parry said Weaver used accelerant and his actions had posed a danger to the firefighters who tackled the blaze.
“Although no figure can be put on the damage, it must be extremely significant,” he said.
Weaver pleaded guilty, had led a hard working life, had no previous convictions and had shown himself to be a community spirited man.
It was out of character while undoubtedly under stress and crucially it was impulsive not planned and he was truly remorseful.
Weaver had serious health issues but was responding well to the support he was receiving in custody.
Prosecuting barrister Matthew Dunford said Mrs Oldfield, 73, met the defendant 15 years ago. After a six month relationship, they remained friends.
He broke his leg in December 2015 and she allowed him to stay while he recuperated.
“On March 11, she was preparing tea when he became aggressive, complained she had not offered him any drinks and she told him to go home.
“He head-butted her between her eyes which hurt and left her with some pain, reddening and swelling.”
The defendant told her ‘I’ll kill you’ and she believed him. She went to call the police but the defendant knocked the phone off the wall.
He picked up a porcelain money box and threw it with such force that it went through the double glazed living room window.
Desperate to get out of house
“Patricia Oldfield was desperate to get out of the house,” said Mr Dunford.
As she left, she saw the defendant come out of an outbuilding with what appeared to be a sledgehammer.
Mrs Oldfield began to get into her car – but he told her ‘if you get in there you won’t get out’ – making it clear he would block her escape.
She decided to walk away and headed towards the nearest property, a farm about a mile away and told her neighbour: “Nick is going crazy, he head-butted me and threatened to kill me. He is smashing my car up”
House on fire
Smoke was coming from her property and Mrs Oldfield said: “Oh he has probably put the house on fire.”
The emergency services found a significant blaze. Weaver said he had done it and had used a gallon of two-stroke petrol to start the fire in a front room. Extensive damage was caused.
Defending barrister Simon Killeen said Weaver, who had built most of the house, believed the damage to be in the region of £100,000.
They had been in a long term relationship, over a period of time his health deteriorated, he had a stroke, had broken his leg and it was not healing as hoped. His physical frailty remained.
Broke his leg
During the relationship he encouraged her to buy the house, he spent hundreds of hours restoring it and it became “his life’s work”.
The relationship changed, they continued to be friends and when he broke his leg she allowed him to live with her.
From his perspective, the relationship deteriorated, he felt helpless and unable to look after himself and at the time of the offences he felt at an extraordinarily low ebb, felt low self worth with no dignity.
“Having reached crisis point, in his condition, it led him to behave in a way completely out of character and he will now have to pay for it. At the time he was in an extraordinarily low frame of mind,” he said.