A man who doused a woman in lighter fuel before setting her on fire in a horrific murder bid has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years.
Stewart Watson attacked Anne Crossan at her home in West Lothian, leaving her seriously injured. She now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.
Watson, 36, clapped as he was sentenced today with the judge interrupting his address to ask him: “You find it all amusing, do you?”
Lord Bannatyne threatened to impose a further prison term on Watson for contempt of court following his outburst in the dock at the High Court in Edinburgh.
After he was returned to the cells and allowed to talk to his legal team he was brought back into court handcuffed and Lord Bannatyne told him he thought his behaviour was disgraceful, but would not impose a separate sentence on him.
The judge condemned his “truly horrifying assault” on his victim Ms Crossan who was in court to see him sentenced.
Lord Bannatyne said: “It is difficult to imagine how terrifying this must have been for the complainer (victim). The results of the assault were appalling.”
The judge said the effects on the victim had been not just physical but emotional and added: “This assault was on an entirely innocent person. The assault was clearly premeditated.”
He said that only a substantial period of imprisonment was appropriate to deal with the crime.
Outside court Miss Crossan, 47, said: “I feel as though a chip has been lifted off my shoulder. I just feel relieved.”
She said she had been diagnosed as suffering post traumatic stress disorder following the attack on her which left her suffering nightmares and frightened to answer the door.
Watson attacked his victim at her home and doused her in lighter fuel before igniting it.
Watson who had denied the attempted murder, threw the flammable liquid over Anne Crossan’s head and body during the attempted murder at Chapelton Gardens, Polbeth.
She told his earlier trial: “My hair was on fire, my face, my neck was on fire. I lost quite a bit of my hair and my scalp was all burnt.”
“Flames came right up at me. I just put my right hand up to my face, so the right side wasn’t as badly burned as the left side. I had glasses on. If I hadn’t I would have been blinded,” she said.
She said she ran to the bathroom and ducked her head into water. She was taken by ambulance to St John’s Hospital in Livingston.
The victim was placed in an induced coma while she was treated for burns following the attack on September 4 last year
Watson’s trial heard that before the attack she had found out something about him and contacted his then girlfriend.
Miss Crossan said that Watson turned up at her door saying he wanted to talk to her after a break-up but when she opened the door he attacked her.
Police found lighter fluid on trainers Watson was wearing on the night of the attack and two cans of similar fluid were recovered at his home in the West Lothian village, one of them empty.
Defence solicitor advocate Mike Bell said that although a background report had not been produced on Watson, a prisoner in Addiewell jail, he wanted to be sentenced today.
“He is resigned to the fact a long sentence of imprisonment awaits him,” said Mr Bell.
He said Watson had not cooperated and said he did not get on with professionals.
Watson, who has a previous conviction for fire-raising, had spent periods in hospital, said Mr Bell.
The defence lawyer said of the attack: “It must have been a terrifying experience.”