Man accused of leaving wife with burns after dousing walls in petrol before throwing lighter

Man accused of leaving wife with burns after dousing walls in petrol before throwing lighter

12 January 2022

A DOWNPATRICK woman suffered burns after her husband set fire to their kitchen, a court has heard.

Michael McColl allegedly doused the walls with petrol and then threw a lighter into the room while his wife was inside.

She managed to get out of the kitchen, but sustained burns to her hands and legs.

Around £125,000 in damage is estimated to have been caused to the couple’s Clintons Park home in the resulting blaze on September 19.

McColl, who has been in custody since October 18, was refused bail at Downpatrick Magistrates’ Court last Thursday.

The 52 year-old is accused of arson endangering life with intent and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The court heard the couple had been drinking heavily before the incident.

A police detective, who opposed the bail application, said the woman claimed the incident occurred after the couple had been in a bar.

He said that when the woman went into the kitchen, her husband was pouring petrol from a lawnmower over the walls, some of which splashed on her coat. 

The detective told the court that after splashing petrol on the walls, McColl tossed a lighter into the kitchen as he left.

The woman told police her husband was sitting on a wall outside looking at his phone when she managed to take off her coat and got to safety. 

The detective added that the woman needed hospital treatment for burns to her hands and legs, as well as smoke inhalation.

A defence solicitor said McColl was “extremely remorseful” about what had happened and was only concerned about the well-being of his wife during the weeks he had been in custody.

District Judge Amanda Brady refused bail due to the seriousness of the incident.

The case was adjourned until February 3.