Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting HL NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
19 years in jail for attempted murder of Rowley Regis mum
12:17pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News
A JILTED lover who doused his former partner in petrol and turned her into a "fireball" because he could not cope with the end of their relationship was jailed for 19 years today.
Damion Sheldon also set fire to the Rowley Regis home of Louise Pilkington where her 13-month-old daughter was asleep and the toddler - feared dead - had to be rescued and revived by firefighters.
Judge John Warner told 42-year-old Sheldon it was clear he intended burning the terraced house down adding, "It is by pure chance this did not end up as a catastrophe."
He said Miss Pilkington had made it clear she wanted nothing more to do with Sheldon and he had inflicted great suffering while her nine-year-old daughter witnessed the "terrible" thing he did when he set her on fire.
Sheldon, who showed no reaction as he was lead away to begin his sentence, left Miss Pilkington with 16 per cent burns to her head, arms and shoulder but she had made a remarkable recovery from her injuries.
The 32-year-old, who sat in the public gallery at Wolverhampton Crown Court to hear the sentence, said afterwards: “I don’t want to comment on it at the moment.”
The cable layer went to her home in Haden Walk and poured petrol through the letter boxon his birthday last December, but Miss Pilkington was woken by the barking of the family dog.
When she opened the front door she was confronted by Sheldon who poured petrol over her head and set her alight leaving her screaming for help.
She told the jury: "The pain was like nothing I have felt."
One neighbour described her as being a "fireball" and said he could hear her skin "sizzling" while another threw a bucket of water over her body to help put out the flames.
Sheldon, of Russells Hall Road, Dudley, denied attempting to murder his ex-partner but he was found guilty by the jury after they retired to consider the evidence at the end of his trial.
He pleaded guilty to arson and being reckless as to whether the life of the toddler was endangered and he was told by the judge he had put at risk the lives of all three people inside the house.
In evidence to the jury Sheldon said he had been left heartbroken when Miss Pilkington dumped him after nine months and he said he wanted to end his own life.
"I have had enough. I can't take anymore. Life is awful," he said. "She pushed past me. I had the petrol can above my head. I wanted Louise to see and feel my pain. She has utterly and completely destroyed me. I did not want to kill her. I loved her."
Hugh O'Brien-Quinn, prosecuting, told the court that in a victim impact statement Miss Pilkington said the incident had ripped apart their lives and she had been left "traumatised by his cowardly act".
She said her nine-year-old daughter continued to suffer from nightmares while she would forever bear the scars of Sheldon's actions.
Francis Laird QC, for Sheldon, said it was clear he "planned some escapade" adding: "He could not have known she would open the front door when she did."
He told the court Sheldon had significant emotional difficulties as a result of the end of the relationship and that explained how he ended up on her front doorstep with the petrol.
Comments are closed on this article.