Glasgow & West Scotland

Alexander Gay guilty of dog row party fire in Mauchline

A man has been convicted of attempting to murder six people after setting fire to a block of flats in Mauchline, East Ayrshire, following a row over his dog.

Alexander Gay, 45, was enraged after his lurcher Ozzie was banned from a New Year party in one of the flats because another guest was allergic to dogs.

He set petrol alight in the close stairs on 1 January. One guest suffered burns and lost his sight. Another died days later from a heart attack.

Sentence on Gay was deferred.

At the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lady Wolffe told Gay: "You have been found guilty of a serious offence. You are bound to be facing a significant custodial sentence."

CCTV images

Francis Brown - who was hosting the Hogmanay party - told how Gay had turned up with his dog but later left as another guest, Gary Spence, was allergic to dogs.

Gay was captured on CCTV carrying a petrol can and walking towards the flats.

One of the partygoers, David McCann, managed to jump out of a window after the blaze took hold and ran to a neighbour for help.

Five others - Mr Spence, Mr Brown, John Caldwell, Melissa Marrs, who were at the party, and George Stoba, who was in his own flat next door - had to be rescued.

Victim blinded

Mr Spence, 45, was trapped in the flat and thought he was going to die. He suffered 30% burns and lost his sight as a result of the intense heat from the fire.

He cannot stand up or wash himself, has little feeling in his arms and legs and requires full time care.

Mr Stoba, who had blocked coronary arteries, died after suffering a heart attack days after the fire.

Originally Gay, from Mauchline, was charged with Mr Stoba's murder, but judge Lady Wolffe determined that it was unsafe to say his death had been caused by the blaze.

Kerry Salisbury, 24, who was Gay's girlfriend at the time, told the court that he confessed to her the next day that he had set the fire.

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