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Student given six years for deliberately setting fire to wheelie bins he placed outside ex-girlfriend's home

A Chester student who put his ex-girlfriend and her six housemates in danger by deliberately setting fire to wheelie bins placed against her house in a bid for her to take him back has been given a six year detention.

Connor Egan, 20, of Butt Lane in Beverley, East Yorkshire pleaded guilty to arson with being reckless to endanger life at Chester Crown Court on Monday 7 January.

The court heard how Egan’s behaviour changed for the worse after his 19-year-old girlfriend ended their relationship after he became possessive and jealous of her.

Over a short period, Egan would constantly call and text her, follow her and often turn up at the same place as her without being invited.

During the early hours of 26 May 2018 Egan set fire to a wheelie bin outside the victim’s address on Lorne Street, Chester before setting fire to another wheelie bin outside the same property an hour later.

At 3.30am the same day the victim saw a man in the front garden of her home as she returned home, police believed this was Egan. Half an hour later she spoke to Egan on the phone, unaware of his involvement in the wheelie bin fires, she told him she was scared and he came to see her.

Three days later in the early hours of the morning another wheelie bin was reported on fire outside the front door of the victim’s home. The victim rang Egan to tell him about the fires and he called her to see if she wanted to stay with him instead, which she declined.

At 7.36am the same day Egan set fire to a bag full of rubbish placed at the back door of the house. The fire was extinguished by residents before firefighters arrived.

Detective Constable Tom Philpotts, of Chester CID, said: “Egan’s behaviour caused the victim to feel harassed and upset leaving her wondering what he was going to do next.

“Unbeknown to her Egan’s actions had become dark and manipulative. In an attempt to make her feel frightened, he set fire to the wheelie bins placed next to her house and then offered to provide comfort to her when she confided to him how scared she was.

“Egan’s actions could have seriously injured, or worse killed, his girlfriend and her flat mates inside if the fire had spread to the house. I have no doubt Egan would have continued with this behaviour but we were able to stop him before he did even more harm.”

Police were able to locate Egan near the property at the time the fires took place and he was swiftly arrested on 29 May.

DC Philpotts added: “Nobody should be made to feel frightened or scared by the actions of others. If you feel you may be the victim of harassment please come forward and speak to us.”

Egan previously pleaded guilty to two counts of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered on Thursday 28 June.

Egan was also given a restraining order banning him from contacting his victim.

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