Deprecated: Function session_register() is deprecated in /home/sites/ on line 88 Alexander Gay jailed over Mauchline dog row party fire
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Alexander Gay jailed over Mauchline dog row party fire

  • 11-29-2014

A man who set fire to a block of flats in East Ayrshire following a row over his dog has been jailed for 12 years. 

Alexander Gay, 45, was convicted of attempting to murder six people over the incident in Mauchline on 1 January.

His trial heard how Gay set petrol alight in the close stairs after his pet was banned from a New Year party because a guest was allergic to dogs. 

One guest suffered burns and lost his sight. Another died days later from a heart attack.

Passing sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lady Wolffe told Gay: "I take note that you have expressed no remorse for what you did on that evening. 

'Cowardly and despicable'

"What you did on that evening was pre-meditated, cowardly and despicable. 

"These people had gathered together to see in the New Year. They had an expectation that they would be safe. 

"But what you did on that evening was premeditated, cowardly and despicable." 

Lady Wolffe told Gay that jail was the only sentence available to her. She added: "It is only good fortune that no one died through your actions." 

Gay was convicted following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow last month.

Francis Brown - who was hosting the Hogmanay party - told the court how Gay had turned up with his dog but later left as another guest, Gary Spence, was allergic to dogs. 

Gay was captured on CCTV carrying a petrol can and walking towards the flats.

Victim blinded

One of the partygoers, David McCann, managed to jump out of a window after the blaze took hold and ran to a neighbour for help. 

Five others - Mr Spence, Mr Brown, John Caldwell, Melissa Marrs, who were at the party, and George Stoba, who was in his own flat next door - had to be rescued. 

Mr Spence, 45, was trapped in the flat and thought he was going to die. He suffered 30% burns and lost his sight as a result of the intense heat from the fire. 

He cannot stand up or wash himself, has little feeling in his arms and legs and requires full-time care.

Mr Stoba, who had blocked coronary arteries, died after suffering a heart attack days after the fire. 

Originally Gay, from Mauchline, was charged with Mr Stoba's murder, but judge Lady Wolffe determined that it was unsafe to say his death had been caused by the blaze. 

Kerry Salisbury, 24, who was Gay's girlfriend at the time, told the court that he confessed to her the next day that he had set the fire.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2014 BBC

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