Glasgow & West Scotland

'Struggling' pensioner torched his Ayrshire home

An 84-year-old Ayshire man torched his home with petrol because he could not cope with his partner's failing health, a court has heard.

Sydney Galloway admitted wilfully setting the fire at Dalrymple Street in Girvan in November 2016, to the danger of his 84-year-old partner's life.

The High Court in Glasgow heard he took sleeping tablets and whisky before setting the fire and going to bed.

Emergency services were alerted to the blaze by a teenager delivering papers.

Prosecutor Allan Nicol said Galloway was under pressure with the worsening condition of his partner of 25 years, Margaret Leadbetter.

During a police interview, Galloway said he barricaded the front door using furniture so that no-one could enter the house.

He said he wanted to kill himself, but did not want to kill his partner, although he knew she was in the house at the time.

Mrs Leadbetter sustained minor burns in the fire, but after a fall in Glasgow Royal Infirmary she broke her hip.

Galloway had burns to his back, buttocks and both feet.

Judge Lady Rae deferred sentence on Galloway until next month for background reports and allowed him bail.

Defence counsel Tony Lenehan is to give his plea in mitigation next month.

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