5:29pm Monday 5th August 2013
THE spurned ex-boyfriend of the Rowley Regis woman he poured petrol and turned into a “fireball” has told court that he was trying to kill himself not her.
Damion Sheldon, from Dudley, said he wanted Louise Pilkington to "see the pain" she had caused him when she decided to end their nine month relationship.
The 42-year-old cable layer told Wolverhampton Crown Court: "That was how I felt. She destroyed me totally and utterly. I was besotted with that woman.
"I did not want to kill her. I still loved her. I was just annoyed because she wouldn't talk to me."
He added: "I did not want to hurt her or the kids in any way and I did not want to cause her any serious injury. Not at all."
The prosecution have alleged Sheldon set fire to Miss Pilkington outside her Haden Walk, Rowley Regis home after sending her a string of threatening text messages.
He first poured petrol through the letter box of the terraced property and after she was woken by the barking of her dog Jess she smelled the fuel and opened the front door.
It was then, claimed Hugh O'Brien-Quinn prosecuting, that Sheldon made his murder bid before setting fire to the house with her 13-month-old baby daughter asleep in an upstairs bedroom.
The toddler had to be rescued and resuscitated by firemen with Miss Pilkington who was with her nine-year-old daughter when she fled the house fearing her baby was dead.
But Sheldon told the jury: "I was mortified when I found out what happened. I was sick. I could not hurt those kids. I couldn't hurt anyone."
In evidence to the court the father-of-one who was separated at the time from his second wife said he was "gutted" when Miss Pilkington told him it was over.
"I wanted it to continue," added Sheldon who told a friend after celebrating his birthday: "I've just had enough. I can't take anymore."
He said he had downed half a bottle of whisky, vodka, six litres of cider and lager before going to Miss Pilkington's home and, after making an earlier suicide attempt, he went on: "I wanted the petrol to kill myself."
Sheldon said he could not recall pouring petrol through the letterbox, hearing the dog barking or Miss Pilkington shouting.
"I can remember her pushing me. I then felt a searing pain on my face and I was breathing in.
"I can still picture the flames now. It was vivid. Louise pushed past me as I ignited the petrol I had poured over me. The petrol just went up. I was trying to kill myself. I wanted Louise to find me. I wanted her to see and feel the pain she had caused me."
Sheldon, of Russells Hall Road, has denied attempting to murder Miss Pilkington and wounding her with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm.
But he has pleaded guilty to arson and being reckless as to whether the life of the baby inside the house was endangered.
The trial continues.
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