A MAN who set fire to his girlfriend’s apartment while she and her teenage daughter were inside has been jailed.
Stephen Buckley, of Lord Street, Southport, pleaded guilty to arson and was jailed for four years and nine months at Liverpool Crown Court on May 2.
The court heard that on December 20, 2022, Buckley, 36, deliberately started a fire in the downstairs of his girlfriend’s house in Newton-le-Willows before fleeing the property.
The victim, along with her teenage daughter, were upstairs and only became aware of the fire after smelling smoke coming from downstairs.
They managed to get out of the house unharmed but were left shaken by the incident.
Following enquiries by Merseyside Police officers, Buckley was later arrested and charged with arson.
After the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Allison Woods said: “It is pleasing to see that Buckley has been given a custodial sentence to reflect the seriousness of his actions.
“To deliberately start a fire inside a house, knowing that there are people inside, is utterly appalling and it’s only down to good fortune that the two occupants were unharmed.”
She added: “Buckley started a fire in close proximity to a gas and electrical mains box, so it was incredibly reckless and dangerous.
“He not only endangered the lives of the two people inside the house, but also neighbouring properties.”
Det Chf Insp Woods went on to urge anyone suffering domestic abuse to come forward so the police can “take action”.
"Domestic abuse can come in many forms, and we have dedicated officers who are specially trained to support victims throughout an investigation,” she said.
“We work closely with partners, charities and other organisations to break the silence and help those in need.
“We know that many people are aware offences are being committed in their neighbourhood or against people they know, but remain silent,” she added.
“I want to encourage those people to do the right thing and come forward so we can take action and help those who need it and those who may not be able to help themselves.
“If you are suffering and can find the courage to come forward, or know someone who may be a victim, please reach out to the police, local authority or support agencies and we will take action.
“Merseyside Police is committed to working together with communities and partner agencies to tackle all violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Merseyside.”