NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Man tried to start fire at Fraserburgh house with baby inside

A man has been found guilty of starting a fire outside a house and endangering the life of a six-month-old baby.

Dylan Mason, 21, tried to set the front door of the home in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, alight in the early hours of 12 August last year.

He was originally charged with attempting to murder Diane Wiseman and the baby, who were inside the house.

But he was convicted of the lesser charge of wilfully attempting to set fire to the danger of life.

Defence counsel Stephen Hughes told the High Court in Edinburgh: "This is clearly a serious offence for which there will be a sentence of imprisonment."

Mason's co-accused Beverley Bruce, 51, was cleared of the entire offence after a jury returned a not proven verdict in her case.

'Massive flame'

The court heard how Mason was linked to the blaze through DNA evidence.

The fire was discovered by a neighbour, Nerjus Dambauskas, who was leaving his home with his wife at the time.

He said: "The flame was so massive it covered the whole door. It was so bright and it looked like it was recently set."

Emergency services were contacted and Mr Dambauskas acted to alert the woman in the house.

He told the court: "I thought she was still asleep and wasn't aware of what was happening."

The fire was later brought under control.

Machete attack

At the conclusion of the trial, Mason returned to the dock with another three co-accused who had all admitted charges of assault committed in the Aberdeenshire town in September last year.

The court heard that Mason, Reece Gaughan, 23, Lee Murphy, 24, and Michael O Brien, 22, had all lived at addresses in Liverpool and the Fraserburgh area.

One of their victims was struck with a machete during a raid on his home, when £800 was stolen.

Police later recovered the machete and a Halloween-style mask from a house in nearby Sandhaven.

The following day, the armed gang turned up at a flat demanding money before fleeing empty-handed.

All four were remanded in custody for the preparation of background reports. They will be sentenced in October.

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