Yob who set fire to child’s summerhouse jailed for two years

Hamilton Sheriff Court
Hamilton Sheriff Court

A Holytown hot tub yob, who set fire to a child’s summerhouse, has been jailed for two years.

Paul Martin also attacked his partner twice, Hamilton Sheriff Court was told.

Martin (34) of Kenilworth Court, admitted charges of assault, fire-raising and threatening or abusive behaviour.

Scott King, prosecuting, said trouble began in August 2017 at the home of Martin’s girlfriend, Claire McMahon, in Sunnyside Terrace, Holytown.

Neighbour Sandra McGraw was wakened at 4.30am by noise from a hot tub where the couple and another person were enjoying an early morning dip.

Mrs McGraw, who is from Northern Ireland, went out to ask them to quieten down, but was met with racist abuse from Martin that left her “intimidated and frightened”.

Later that day, Martin approached Mrs McGraw’s husband, Thomas, and shouted “You’re getting it and your car is getting it”.

Three months later, Martin grabbed Ms McMahon by the hair and kicked her twice on the mouth, bursting her lip. Two days after that he pushed her to the ground and pinned her down until a pal managed to drag him away.

Then, in the early hours of December 9, 2017, Martin went to Ms McMahon’s home with a petrol can and used it to set fire to a summerhouse in the garden. She was staying at her parents’ home at the time.

The summerhouse, valued at £5862, was extensively damaged. Windows, doors and guttering of a neighbouring property, as well as fencing and a garden shed, had to be replaced at a cost of almost £10,000.

The next day, Martin confronted the McGraws, both 57, in their front garden. He told Sandra McGraw “F... off, Irish b......” then warned the couple “I’ll burn your house down. You’ve no idea what I can do with a petrol can”.

Defence agent Kevin McCarron pointed out that Martin had a relatively minor criminal record.

He said: “This behaviour was out of character for him. It came during a period when he was having difficulties in his relationship with Ms McMahon. He went entirely off the rails.”

Sheriff Marie Smart said: “You brought all this on yourself by your outrageous behaviour towards your partner and her neighbours. The fire-raising was a dangerous act and it’s just fortunate that it didn’t spread due to the distance from the house.”