Jealous Leith barber who set girlfriend’s £16k car on fire after ex wished her ‘Happy Christmas’ avoids jail term
A jealous barber who set fire to his girlfriend’s car after accusing her of cheating has escaped a jail sentence.
Ben Lawless, 24, torched the woman’s brand new £16,000 motor after driving off with it on Boxing Day last year.
The crimper called his partner on FaceTime to tell her he was about to set the Volkswagen Polo Match Evo alight after he believed she had cheated on him.
Lawless, from Leith, claimed he carried out the arson attack after the woman’s ex-boyfriend had texted her to say “Happy Christmas”.
The firebug pleaded guilty to wilfully setting fire to this ex-partner’s car outside his home on December 26 last year when he appeared at the Capital’s sheriff court last month.
He returned to the dock for sentencing on Friday where Sheriff Donald Corke said the attack had been “a mean spirited act”.
The sheriff added: “Setting fire to your ex-partner’s car is particularly irresponsible and unacceptable behaviour.”
Lawless was handed an 18-month community payback order and told he must complete 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Solicitor Mark Hutchison, defending, said his client accepted this was “a serious offence” and had “reacted badly” to seeing the text message.
He added Lawless had paid compensation to the woman and despite splitting they hoped “to remain friends”.
A relieved Lawless was embraced by a group of friends as he left the court building.
Previously the court was told Lawless and the woman were in a relationship at the time and had stayed with family as they celebrated Christmas Day.
The woman’s ex-boyfriend had sent her a text message wishing her “a Happy Christmas” which Lawless had seen later that night.
The woman then woke up around 8.30am on Boxing Day to find Lawless had driven off with her white Polo.
She received a FaceTime call from Lawless who accused her of cheating and he threatened to set the car alight before she hung up.
A neighbour called the fire service after witnessing the barber setting a fire in the front seat which left the Polo burnt out.
Lawless subsequently handed himself in at a local police station on December 27.