Prison for man who hurled a 'ball of flame' into tot's home in Grimsby
ARSONIST Daune O'Pray has been jailed for three years for setting fire to a soft toy and throwing it into a family home.
At Grimsby Crown Court, Judge Simon Jack said O'Pray could easily have caused "a disaster" in which a two-year-old boy could have been killed.
O'Pray, 21 of Firsby Crescent, Grimsby admitted the arson attack on August 1 at Coningsby Drive, Grimsby.
Judge Jack said it was an appalling offence.
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"There was huge potential for disaster," he said, explaining that a child in the property could have become trapped upstairs and killed.
At home, was Becky Murphy, who was with relatives, including the two-year-old boy, at about 6.50pm.
She opened the front door to see O'Pray holding up a lighter under a soft toy. It had been soaked in lighter fuel and immediately burst into flames when it was ignited.
O'Pray threw the burning toy at Ms Murphy, who deflected it onto a wooden table, scooped it up and threw it back out into the garden.
The offender walked away.
Prosecuting, Mark Kendall said O'Pray had gone out looking for Ms Murphy's brother, Craig Cain because of an allegation he was the new boyfriend of O'Pray's cousin's partner.
Mr Kendall said the toy was turned into "a ball of flame".
He said Ms Murphy was left "petrified" and suffered singeing to her fringe and a slight hand injury.
Mr Kendall said: "It was an unprovoked, frightening attack."
On his arrest, less than an hour later, O'Pray had his clothes seized and told officers: "I don't know why you are taking them, I was not wearing them when I did the alleged arson."
Mr Kendall said in interview with police O'Pray admitted the offence and said Craig Cain had been having an affair with his cousin's partner.
He said: "He told officers he was going to throw it at Mr Cain but was taken by surprise and panicked."
For O'Pray Simon Hirst said it was an "unusual offence of arson".
He said he had planned the attack due to an "absurd show of loyalty" to his cousin.
He said he had intended to "scare Mr Cain off".
Mr Hirst apologised on his client's behalf for the distress caused to Ms Murphy.