Jealous boyfriend faces jail over arson attack

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A JEALOUS boyfriend left the country after an orchestrating an arson attack on another man’s home – just because his girlfriend had a cup of coffee there.

Alan Gudgeon was furious that his girlfriend had visited her friend Paul McDonald for one of their regular chats, so he recruited Daniel Tindle, 29, to light a blaze at the house.

Gudgeon, 44, fled to Spain while the arson attack was carried out in South Shields, but telephone records linked him to the crime.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Mr McDonald’s front door was set alight, but the fire was put out before anyone was hurt.

Tindle, of Coach Road Estate, Washington, admitted arson reckless to whether life would be endangered.

Gudgeon, of Defoe Avenue, South Shields, denied the same charge, but he was found guilty by a jury after a trial.

Both men were cleared of the more serious offence of arson with intent to endanger life.

They will be sentenced next month, and they have been warned that they face jail sentences. Judge Robin Mairs told them: “You both know that convictions in relation to this will carry custodial sentences.”

Both men have been granted bail until the next hearing.

The court heard that Gudgeon flew to Spain on Friday, January 3, last year and the arson attack at Mr McDonald’s home was carried out the following day.

Telephone records showed the men were in contact shortly before and after the fire was started.