Bury St Edmunds man doused ex-partner with petrol, jury concludes

Ipswich Crown Court ANL-140617-141524001

Ipswich Crown Court ANL-140617-141524001

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A man doused his ex-partner in petrol and tried to set it alight, a jury has decided.

Dale Roberts, 27, of Tollgate Lane, Bury St Edmunds has been on trial at Ipswich Crown Court, which was told he waited for Lisa Wood as she returned from a nightclub in the early hours of August 16 last year.

The prosecution alleged Roberts punched Ms Wood causing her to fall to the ground where she was covered with petrol and he tried, unsuccessfully, to ignite it using a lighter.

The court also heard Roberts remained outside the property in Oakes Road, Bury, threatening to burn it down after Ms Wood had fled inside.

Yesterday a jury unanimously found Roberts guilty of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm, assault causing actual bodily harm and making threats to damage property. He had previously denied all three charges.

Giving evidence, Lisa Wood told the jury that she had been ‘terrified’ when she was allegedly attacked by Dale Roberts.

Ms Wood said when another man tried to intervene and told Roberts to leave her alone, she took the opportunity to scramble to her feet and fled inside her home.

During cross examination, Ms Wood denied that she had fabricated the alleged incident.

Roberts has pleaded not guilty to attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm, assault causing actual bodily harm and making threats to damage property.

He told the court he had known Lisa Wood for about a month before they began a relationship which ended in August last year.

Roberts said he broke off the relationship because he wanted to return to his wife and believed that explained Ms Wood’s behaviour.

He said: “I’ve heard that she (Ms Wood) has done it to other people before. It is jealousy. I love my wife and not her.”

Roberts told the jury that he believed Ms Wood had ‘taken badly’ the ending of their relationship.

On the same night as the alleged incident, Roberts said he was confronted by Ms Wood in Flex nightclub in Bury where she made ‘horrible’ comments about his wife.

Roberts said: “I told her to leave me alone. I was just trying to get out of the situation.”

At about 2.30am that night Roberts said he decided to retrieve some personal items from Ms Wood’s house, accompanied by a friend, believing she was still out.

However, she turned up and a second confrontation took place. He alleged she had acted aggressively towards him.

Denying he had assaulted Ms Wood or poured petrol over her, Roberts said he could not have attempted to ignite the fuel with a lighter as he did not have one with him.

Roberts also denied making threats to burn down Ms Wood’s house. He said he would never do that, especially as his own two children were inside at the time.

The court heard two police officers called to the scene of the alleged incident reported smelling petrol on Ms Wood’s hair and saw grazes on her face.

Lucy Fooks, a neighbour of Ms Wood, said she was woken in the early hours that night by the sound of raised voices.

Giving evidence, she said the noise continued for up to 15 minutes after which she saw a man emerge from an alleyway beside Ms Wood’s house.

A woman, who she believed was Ms Wood, talked to the driver of a small car before a second man got into the vehicle and it drove off.

Judge John Holt told Roberts he would be remanded in custody until he returns to court to be sentenced in April.