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Man sets fire to home after holding partner at knife-point, sentenced

In an incident that unfolded on January 7, 2021, Glyn Dorrington, a 31-year-old drug dealer, poured a drum of petrol onto the kitchen floor of his shared home in New Tredegar, Caerphilly. After holding a knife to his partner’s throat, he callously threw a lit tea towel onto the petrol-soaked floor, igniting a blaze. Shockingly, before lighting the fire, Dorrington chillingly warned his partner, “If you want to take me for a ride? I’ll show you a ride to hell.”

The harrowing events leading up to the arson attack were detailed during a recent sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court. Dorrington had been in a relationship with the victim since 2017, but jealousy consumed him when she visited her friend—a former partner and the mother of one of Dorrington’s children. Fueled by jealousy, he bombarded his partner with threatening messages and even made suicidal threats.

Prosecutor Laurence Jones recounted the terrifying moments preceding the arson attack. The victim, becoming increasingly concerned, returned to their shared residence on Pritchard Terrace around 11:10 p.m. It was then that Dorrington, consumed by suspicions of infidelity, verbally abused her and demanded to see her phone. As tensions escalated, he brandished a Stanley knife, mimicking cutting motions toward his arms. In a brave attempt to intervene, the victim managed to wrestle the knife from him.

However, Dorrington’s rage turned physical as he subjected his partner to a sustained and unlawful violent assault. He pinned her down on the bedroom floor, repeatedly punching her head. Despite her attempts to escape, he targeted her arms, hair, and face, forcefully grabbing her and inflicting further harm. Adding to the horror, he grabbed a kitchen knife, menacingly brandishing it at the victim.

In a chilling turn of events, Dorrington pressed the knife to the victim’s neck, expressing his desire to “hurt” her. The victim, fearing for her life, defiantly told him, “If you’re going to kill me, just do it.” At that moment, Dorrington relented, blaming his partner for the assault and accusing her of provoking him by saying, “You wound me up.”

Seizing an opportunity to escalate the situation further, Dorrington proceeded to the kitchen, where he poured petrol from a drum onto the floor. Taunting his terrified partner, he callously uttered the words, “If you want to take me for a ride? I’ll show you a ride to hell.” Desperate to prevent the impending catastrophe, the victim attempted to intervene, but tragically slipped on the petrol. Ignoring her distress, Dorrington callously laughed before head-butting her right eye.

In a shocking act of arson, Dorrington ignited a tea towel and hurled it onto the petrol-soaked floor, resulting in a small explosion and engulfing the house in flames. The house was soon shrouded in thick smoke, triggering the fire alarm. Fearing for her life, the victim rushed upstairs to find her keys, but upon returning downstairs, she discovered that Dorrington had extinguished the fire. He once again shifted blame onto her, instructing her to claim it was a cooking accident if the police were to be involved.

The following morning, the victim, armed with photographic evidence of the damage, fled the house and promptly alerted the authorities. When officers arrived at Pritchard Terrace, they encountered a pungent burning smell and observed black patches on the kitchen walls and ceiling. Dorrington had made futile attempts to clean up, as evidenced by the mop and bucket discovered in the kitchen. The drum of petrol was found in the living room, further substantiating the crime.

Initially, Dorrington denied responsibility for the incident, fabricating a story that the fire was accidental. He also denied assaulting his partner. However, he later pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

During the trial, the victim’s statement to the police highlighted the ongoing terror she experienced. She expressed genuine fear of encountering Dorrington again, noting his history of violent language, physical abuse, and coercive control. She stated, “The way he’s spoken to me about violence, sexualising and glorifying it, the way he has physically abused me and controlled my life in coercive ways makes my skin crawl.”

In addition to the charges related to the arson and assault, Dorrington was also facing sentencing for drug-related offences. On June 28, 2019, the police executed a warrant at his residence in Fishermans Walk, Chepstow, where they seized 18.71g of heroin, 3.17g of cocaine, and tablets of eitzolam and alprazolam, with a total value of £1,629. Subsequently, on September 25, 2019, a further warrant resulted in the seizure of 3.49g of crack cocaine and more alprazolam tablets, amounting to £700 in value. Finally, on December 13, 2019, Dorrington was found in possession of 263 tablets of diazepam, which he initially claimed were for personal use.

The tragic case concluded with Judge Paul Thomas KC delivering the verdict. He described it as a “terribly, terribly sad case” and expressed his condolences to the family of Mr. Ormerod, the victim who had suffered traumatic head and brain injuries and tragically died in the hospital four days after the incident. Judge Thomas also commended the jurors for their careful deliberations.