Pair on trial after man lost his leg in arson attack at house party

Craig Finn - coming to terms with his life-changing injuries.
Craig Finn - coming to terms with his life-changing injuries.
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TWO men are to stand trial following accusations they carried out an arson attack which left a man needing to have one of his legs amputated.

Craig Finn, 25, was left fighting for his life after he was allegedly set on fire in his home on February 2 last year following a house party.

Craig Finn - coming to terms with his life-changing injuries.

Craig Finn - coming to terms with his life-changing injuries.

Mr Finn, of Seaham, had only moved into the property three weeks before the incident.

He was rushed to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where medics treated his horrendous catalogue of injuries while he was in a coma.

His left leg was so badly damaged that surgeons decided to amputate it below the knee and his right ankle, which at one stage he may have had to have removed, had to be reconstructed.

Yesterday, at a plea and case management hearing at Durham Crown Court, James George Thomas Gillibrand, 24, and David William Lewis, 32, appeared charged with grievous bodily harm with intent, arson with intent to endanger life, causing grievous bodily harm without intent and arson reckless as to whether life was endangered.

We nearly lost him twice during that time because his lungs were full of fluid. There was a concern that he might lose his right leg too.

Diane Barker

Lewis, of Nelson Street, Seaham, pleaded not guilty to all four charges, with Gillibrand, of Wesley Way, also Seaham, pleading guilty to arson reckless as to whether life was endangered and causing grievous bodily harm without intent.

The pair are set to appear at the same court on Monday, August 17, for a four-day trial.

Both men had their bail extended until the date of the hearing.

Craig’s mother, Diane Barker, 51, told the Echo of her agony at seeing her son bravely battle for life in hospital.

Craig Finn

Craig Finn

“He was in a coma for the whole of February,” said Diane.

“We nearly lost him twice during that time because his lungs were full of fluid.

“There was a concern that he might lose his right leg too.”

Mr Finn, who needs medication to control pain and also to get him to sleep, said: “I don’t think what happened has hit me yet to be honest.

“I just have to get on with my life.

“I’m still young and I can’t let it get the better of me.”