A RESERVE soldier who made a petrol bomb in a bid to torch a love rival’s car has been put behind bars.
Michael Lister used a Stella Artois lager bottle and a piece of rag to make the potentially deadly device, which he threw at Ryan Arnold’s £12,000 Skoda motor while it was parked on the driveway outside his South Shields home.
Newcastle Crown Court heard no blaze took hold during the early hours attack on January 5 this year, but the Arnold family were left fearing for their lives.
Lister decided to take revenge on Mr Arnold, who was living with his parents at the family home, because he believed he had treated his ex-girlfriend, who the Territorial Army soldier was now seeing, badly.
He sent a picture of the potential explosive to the girl involved, entitled “Micky Lister’s home made” but she had not realised what it was, the court heard.
Mr Arnold’s father Graham told police in a statement he feared his family could have been killed.
He said: “We are terrified by what has happened. I am in fear for my family and the potentially fatal injuries of throwing a petrol bomb so close.”
The court was also told the family felt it was only by the “grace of God” that nobody was hurt and that it was frightening to contemplate the “catastrophic” loss of life that could have resulted if the bomb had ignited.
Lister, of Longfield Close, South Shields, admitted attempted arson being reckless to life endangered.
Judge James Goss QC jailed the 22-year-old for two years. He said: “The bottle smashed but the petrol did not ignite, had it done so there was a risk to life or lives of people in that house.
“These offences are and have to be known as very serious offences.
“This involved you manufacturing a petrol bomb in a beer bottle, taking the bottle to the home of a former boyfriend of the girl you were then, and still are, in a relationship, having been angered by the way she said he had treated her.” The judge said Lister must stay away from the Arnold family and made him the subject of a 10-year restraining order.
Graeme Cook, defending, said Lister had believed the device would have exploded on impact and did not realise it would need to be ignited.
As a result, there were no flames and no scorch or burn marks at the scene.
The court heard Lister was mourning the death of a relative and recovering from parachute and quad bike accidents at the time and has written an apology letter, which he is not allowed to send to his victims.
Mr Cook added: “He was simply stupid thinking he was doing what was right for his girlfriend in relation to how she had been badly let down by her previous boyfriend.”
The court heard there has been no trouble since.
After the case, Joanne Arnold, Ryan’s mother, said: “We’re relieved the case is all over and now we just want to get on with our lives.”