Crack-cocaine 'monster' threatened to make mum 'human torch' after soaking her in petrol and looking for lighter

Liam Blackburn was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.
Liam Blackburn was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

A "monster" who poured petrol over a terrified mum and threatened to set her on fire has been jailed.

Liam Blackburn's victim was unable to see after the flammable liquid went into her eyes during the shocking attack, which happened after he had already beaten and strangled her.

The brute announced he was looking around the house for a lighter once she was soaked but was unable to find one.

A judge has said the woman must have feared she was about to become a "human torch" and has ordered the 24-year-old, who had been "hooked" on crack-cocaine, to stay away from her for life.

Prosecutor Paul Currer told Newcastle Crown Court Blackburn had attacked the woman at her home and added: "He began hitting her repeatedly, about the head and body.

"He dragged her into the lounge by her hair, grabbed her by the throat and strangled her for a time.

"He went out to the shed, took a can of petrol and brought it back in.

"He poured it over her head while she was in the lounge, he kicked her about the body.

"The petrol went into her eyes and caused a terrible stinging sensation.

"She was unable to see exactly what was going on. What she was certain about was, because the defendant told her, he was looking around for a lighter.

"Clearly, she feared he was going to ignite the petrol he had poured over her. He couldn't find a lighter."

The court heard just weeks after the attack, Blackburn turned up at the woman's home again and forced his way in through the front door

The victim said Blackburn was "frothing at the mouth, eyes popping out of his head" when he burst in and hit her across the head.

Blackburn was repeatedly banging his own head against a wall when police arrived to arrest him.

In a victim statement, the woman said she is still in fear of Blackburn,

She added: "He has changed me so much, I am no longer the person I was. I used to be happy.

"He stopped me from being that person. Now he is in prison, I am relived that I now have a future that will be safe.

"I am no longer looking over my shoulder."

Blackburn, of Churchside Gardens, Houghton, admitted assault, a public order offence and common assault.

He has served a previous prison sentence for common assault on the same victim.

Judge Tim Gittins sentenced him to 22 months behind bars with an indefinite restraining order.

The judge told him: "It would seem you had been using drugs that had, undoubtedly, effected your behaviour to a monstrous extent.

"You got into a rage, you kicked and punched and then strangled her.

"It was a sustained assault, which would have been bad enough but, having left the house, you went to a shed, you returned with a canister containing petrol and, in what must have been a truly terrifying episode, you doused her in petrol and threatened to set it alight, looking around the house for a cigarette lighter."

The judge said the woman suffered stinging to her eyes from the petrol and was left bruised.

Judge Gittins added: "More than that, much more than that, the deeply traumatic experience, which left her exceptionally distressed, of thinking for some time, she was going to become a human torch."

Jamie Adams, mitigating, said Blackburn comes from a good family, has an excellent work record and has excelled in custody now he has detoxified.

Mr Adams said: "It made a monster out of him, this crack cocaine. There is much more to him than meets the eye from these circumstances."

Mr Adams said Blackburn is sorry for what he did and does feel concern towards others.