Feb 20 2014 by Sophie McCoid, Skelmersdale Advertiser
A SKELMERSDALE man who started a fire in a revenge attack after his wife was assaulted was jailed for eight years.
John Rogers, 26, pushed a wheelie bin up against the front door of Anthony Croft and Toni Nalley’s home in Ennerdale, Skelmersdale.
Liverpool Crown Court heard on Monday how Rogers, of Hallcroft, Skelmersdale, targeted the property after Croft, 25, attacked his wife, Nikita Wiley.
Harry Pepper, prosecuting, said Rogers had set rubbish inside the bin alight, blocking any escape through the door, at around 1am on May 12 last year.
But as he tried to stoke the fire, he was stopped and arrested by a police officer, called to the scene by Croft, who was inside with his girlfriend.
Rogers, who wore a black hooded top in the dock, was found guilty of arson with intent to endanger life following a trial last year.
His cousin, Jack Rogers, 20, also of Hallcroft, Skelmersdale, who acted as a look-out during the incident, was acquitted by the jury of the same offence.
However, he pleaded guilty to being reckless to endanger life after turning himself into police, and was handed a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, along with a two year supervision order.
Gerry Baxter, defending John Rogers, said his client had been drunk and was "very upset" about what had happened to his wife.
He said: “He was under huge emotional pressure at the time. It emerged in the trial that his wife had been quite seriously attacked.
“The combination of that pressure and the amount he had to drink led him to act in this incredibly stupid way.”
Judge Robert Warnock, sentencing, said: “You were drunk and you went to the house of these two to exact revenge in respect of an undoubted incident against your wife.That may be an explanation but it is not an excuse.
“It’s purely fortuitous that the fire didn’t catch.Your intention undoubtedly though drunken, was to endanger life.”
Croft is currently serving more than nine years in prison for multiple offences, including two years for the assault on Nikita Wiley.
DC Colin Filby said: “Fortunately, no one was injured during this incident, but it could have potentially been much more serious had the fire gone unnoticed.
“The pair gave no regard to the possible consequences of their actions, and I hope this case acts as a warning that such behaviour is treated seriously.”
John Cairns, Fire Safety Manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, added: "Fire can have devastating results on people and property and deliberately starting a fire is an appalling crime that on this occasion could so easily have injured or killed someone were it not for the timely intervention of the police.”