A man has been convicted of committing arson after the victim of a car crash made a personal injury claim against him.
Paul Bruton had been involved in a car accident three years before the incident occurred, with a young female who was also a neighbour. She had broken her collar bone in the accident, and Mr Bruton had received a letter on the day before the arson attack advising that an injury claim was being made against his insurance company.
Upon receipt of the letter, he allegedly phoned the girl and threatened to break more bones in her body. He also reported the incident on the social-networking website Facebook, and received comments from many people that he “would not have the bottle” to do anything about it. He went on to then set her Ford Ka car on fire as it was parked outside her house on May 6th. He appeared to immediately regret his actions and went to a police office to report what he had done.
The Stroud News and Journal is reporting that the Judge in Mr Bruton’s Court case failed to see the logic and reason behind his “gross over-reaction” to being faced with a civil litigation case. It was pointed out in Court that the injury claim was made against his insurance company rather than Mr Bruton himself.
Although convictions for arson usually result in custodial sentences, the Judge took into account the exceptional circumstances in the case. He received an eight month jail sentence, though this was suspended for 12 months. He was also given 200 hours community service work and made to pay £460 towards the damage to the car.