Lorry driver sentenced after driving fuel tanker into family home

30/04/2012

Hugh Billington, 51, from Dorset was sentenced today at Dorchester Crown Court to 7 years' imprisonment after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered, dangerous driving, theft and assault by beating.

Following the sentence, Jennie Rickman, Crown Advocate for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wessex said:

"This has been an extreme example of domestic violence which caused significant damage to the property and presented a significant risk to the welfare of those near the property at the time, in particular those who came to the assistance of Mrs Billington.

"On Friday 20th January, at about 8.45am, Hugh Billington, a lorry driver, drove a 7.5 tonne fuel tanker containing 2000 litres of kerosene into the front wall of his estranged wife's home before starting a number of fires around both the tanker and inside the house.

"While he was running from the scene an off duty special constable, Trevor Knott, attempted to detain him but lost his grip when he was assaulted by the defendant. Billington pleaded guilty to this assault.

"The house is in a residential area close to a primary school and a number of families passed the house that morning on their way to school. It is fortunate that Mrs Billington was unharmed and no-one else was seriously injured in this incident.

"A passing motorist, Darren Fletcher, on noticing a fire under the tanker bravely climbed into the cab and reversed it away from the house and onto the road before attempting to put out the fire inside the house with the assistance of the special constable. However, the fire was too intense for them and soon after the fire brigade arrived and extinguished the blaze.

"It is clear that this was a very traumatic incident for Mrs Billington who continues to suffer the effects of the events of that day, the loss of her home and the majority of her personal possessions. I hope that following the conclusion of this case Mrs Billington can now start to rebuild her life."