Teen started fire in ex-partner’s house

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

A Scarborough man’s revenge for being dumped led to his former girlfriend’s family having to escape their burning home and lose some of their most treasured possessions.

After receiving the news via Facebook that his girlfriend no longer wanted to see him, Daniel McGarva set fire to her clothing in her mother’s house in Overdale, Eastfield.

After drinking a bottle of vodka and taking amphetamine, McGarva, 19, went to the house on April 13, this year, borrowed a lighter from the mother and went upstairs to start the fire.

The former girlfriend then got home to find her mother and sister in tears outside the burning house, with fire-fighters battling the blaze in breathing apparatus.

McGarva, who had been taken in by the family and is now of no fixed abode, appeared before York Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday August 22 after having previously admitted a charge of arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

The court was told by Richard Sheldon, prosecuting, that fire damage to the bedroom and its contents had been estimated at £8,922 and had resulted in the family having to be rehoused away from friends and neighbours.

However, he added that the most upsetting loss had been of photographs and videos featuring the two girls with their dead father.

Chris Moran, mitigating, told how his client had had a difficult life, being kicked out by his parents, taken in by his ex-girlfriend’s family, being rejected by the Army because of past offending and feeling worthless.

Adding that his client was full of genuine remorse, Mr Moran said that McGarva had never intended hurting anyone, his girlfriend having been his emotional anchor and her family being the only really stable life he had known for some time.

Passing sentence, Recorder David Ake told McGarva: “This was an extremely serious offence, the consequences of which could have been horrendous.

“People could have been burned to death in that fire you started.” He added that the mother must have been “absolutely terrified”.

McGarva was sentenced to two years and eight months in a Young Offenders’ Institute.