Ex-Para set fire to Christmas decoration in wrecking spree at home
A hot-headed ex-Parachute Regiment trooper inflicted a nightmare before Christmas on his wife when he set fire to a decoration and punched up their home.
Gavin Wilson, 42, committed arson by torching a festive bow hanging from the couple’s front door in South Shields.
The former squaddie had stormed outside on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, after a verbal altercation, South Tyneside Magistrates' Court heard.
Wilson, a fireplace firm worker, now of Morris Crescent, Boldon Colliery, also went all guns blazing the next day.
During that incident, he damaged a kitchen cupboard and two bedroom doors by punching them, the court heard.
Prosecutor Gurjot Kaur said: “The complainant had been in a relationship with the defendant for six years and married for three years.
“On the day of the incident there had been some verbal altercation between her and the defendant which resulted in her asking him to leave the address.
“He’s walked outside, and she heard words to the effect of ‘destroy’. The Christmas decoration outside has been set alight.
“He has also damaged a cupboard door by punching it. He also damaged bedroom doors.
“The aggravating factor here is that this was done in a domestic context.”
David Forrester, defending, said: “These were incidents that took place almost 18 months ago. There’s been no contact between the parties since.
“Mr Wilson is having difficulties at the moment with his mental health.
“He makes fireplaces. He’s been in the Army, in the 1990s he was in the Parachute Regiment, and he’s worked for Nissan.
“The breakdown of his marriage has damaged his mental health.
“He was interviewed in relation to this incident and said that he had never hit a woman, he took his frustration out on a door."
Wilson pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage and was found guilty after trial of arson.
Magistrates handed him an 18-month community order, with a requirement of 25 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.
Wilson was also handed an 18-month restraining order from contacting the woman.
He was fined £120 and must pay £400 court costs and a £90 victim surcharge.