Stockton man jailed following arson revenge attack on ex-partner

Luke Dance, 25.
Luke Dance, 25.

A Stockton man who carried out a revenge attack at his former partner’s home by setting fire to a wheelie bin while she and her young son were asleep inside has been jailed.

Luke Dance pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to arson being reckless whether lives were endangered, causing criminal damage and using abusive words and behaviour.

Dance (25) of George Street, Stockton, was jailed for two years and eight months after the judge told him the time had long gone when women could be viewed as possessions.

Prosecutor Paul Fairley said Dance and his former partner had known each other since their school days, and in February began a relationship which ended at the end of June.

A week later, in the early hours of July 6, his victim was asleep in her first-floor maisonette in Springfield Grove, Southam, when she was woken by Dance banging on the front door at 3.30 in the morning.

Shouting abuse at her, Dance threatened: “I’m going to get you.”

The victim, whose five-year-old son was also there, then heard a loud bang as one of her windows was smashed, so she called the police.

“She then saw a flickering light from a fire outside the property which she said was small at first and then grew, but she was too scared to leave before the police arrived.”

Mr Fairley said that by then the fire, which Dance had started in a wheelie bin to the side of the maisonette, was raging, and had to be put out by the fire brigade.

The bin was just beyond the gate into the rear garden, and the fire also caused some damage to a neighbouring shed, and an upstairs window of the maisonette cracked from the heat.

Dance, who had previous convictions for seven offences including assault and causing damage, had left by the time the police arrived, but was found in a nearby alleyway and arrested.

He was abusive to the officers, and told them: “You lot better remand me, or I’m going to do some revenge sh*t.”

But he made no comment when he was then interviewed, said Mr Fairley, who asked for a restraining order prohibiting Dance from having any contact, direct or indirect, with the victim or going near her home.

Rashad Mohammed, for Dance, said: “The defendant recognises that as a result of his conduct on this day, he leaves the court with no alternative other than an immediate custodial sentence.”

But he argued that Dance had not planned to carry out the attack, and had set fire to the bin on the spur of the moment.

Jailing Dance and making the restraining order, Recorder Edward Coke told him: “I reject the submission that this was not planned. Part of what you did was out of revenge.

“Men like you have got to learn that the time has long passed that women can be viewed as possessions.”