Man threatened to set partner alight

Norman Burns pleaded guilty to the attacks
Norman Burns pleaded guilty to the attacks
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A MAN has been jailed for three years for a series of attacks on young mothers – including pouring lighter fluid over one woman and threatening to set her alight.

Norman Burns, 34, yesterday pleaded guilty to a string of crimes against two women at Edinburgh High Court.

Burns, from Blackburn, West Lothian, punched, kicked and threw a dog’s bone at a 36-year-old woman’s head.

He also threatened to pour lighter fluid over the mother-of-three’s head and to set her ablaze.

He yesterday admitted causing the woman permanent disfigurement and causing her to fear for her life.

The victim was knocked to the ground and Burns told her he was going to kill her, the court heard.

However, the mother of one of his victims said last night she was unhappy with the three-year prison sentence Burns was given.

She said: “As far as I’m concerned this sentence is just giving him free rein to do as he likes.

“It’s absolutely disgusting. If the trial had been held in England, it wouldn’t have been subject to Scottish corroboration rules and in my view he wouldn’t have got off so lightly.”

Burns was cleared of five alleged rapes during the trial, after the Crown withdrew the charges.

Cameron Buchanan, Conservative MSP for the Lothians, said last night: “I am in favour of corroboration, but this is one great example of it failing.

“One can see that a man has been let off lightly.

“But corroboration is one of the tenements of Scottish justice.”

The first victim, a former partner of Burns, labelled him “controlling”. Burns had attacked her weekly for several years, repeatedly punching and kicking her.

The woman said he had also made degrading and derogatory remarks about her appearance.

A 28-year-old mother-of-two who had later been in a relationship with Burns also gave evidence about abuse she had suffered.

Burns also pleaded guilty to attacking the younger woman, compressing her neck, punching and kicking her on the head and body.

In one incident he threw an ashtray at her, striking her on the head, and once held a knife to her throat while threatening to kill her.

The older victim told the court how she repeatedly had to move house and change her mobile phone number to escape him.

She spoke of how she was forced to barricade the doors and windows of her home, hid hammers and knives, to defend herself.

The offences were all committed between May 1999 and October 2014 at various addresses in West Lothian.

Burns was sentenced to three years and three months in prison yesterday.