A MAN who poured petrol over the inside of his Tranent home and walked about the property with a lit cigarette has been jailed for 21 months.

Scott MacDonald, 50, covered the floor and furniture of his flat with the accelerant but fortunately did not manage to set the ground-floor flat on fire.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told that a support worker attended at MacDonald’s flat at Lammermoor Terrace and became concerned after there was no reply and he saw the lights on and the window blinds down.

Fiscal depute Xander Van Der Scheer said that the police were contacted and, as they began to force entry, the homeowner opened the front door at about 2pm on January 31.

The fiscal said that the officers noticed “an overpowering smell of petrol” within the home and the accused had “a lit cigarette in his hand”.

MacDonald was said to have told police officers it was “his intention to set the house on fire”.

They immediately opened all the windows and doors and, when checking the property, officers found an empty petrol can in a bedroom along with “numerous lighters”.

The court was told that MacDonald’s father usually lived at the home but was in hospital at the time and there had been “no attempt to ignite the petrol”.

MacDonald appeared at the Capital court from custody on Tuesday, where he pleaded guilty to culpably and recklessly pouring petrol over furniture and furnishings and stating to police he intended to set the flat on fire, to the danger of life, on January 31.

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He also admitted to further charges of possessing a knife at Tranent High Street on February 1 and to shouting and swearing at his elderly father at his home on November 9, both last year.

MacDonald also admitted behaving in an aggressive manner and uttering threats of violence towards neighbour Raymond Robertson and brandishing a knife at him on June 3, 2022.

Mr Van Der Scheer told the court that Mr Robertson heard shouting outside his home and looked out to see MacDonald “shouting aggressively” standing nearby.

The depute said that Mr Robertson went to speak to MacDonald, who he knew, but was met with a barrage of insults and threats.

MacDonald then pulled out a knife from his trouser pocket and threw it in the ground before picking it up and opening up the blade.

He made comments to Mr Robertson including “I’m from Niddrie and I’m in charge and I will batter you” and “I’ll stab you”.

The police were alerted and MacDonald was soon arrested and taken to St Leonard’s Police Station where he made no reply to being cautioned and charged.

'Very serious'

Solicitor Victoria Good said that her client was “vulnerable and has significant mental health trauma”.

Ms Good said that MacDonald had turned to alcohol following the death of his mother last year and asked the court to impose an alternative to custody.

In sentencing, Sheriff Gillian Sharp described all the incidents as “very serious” and “the potential for harm was very high indeed and custody is the only appropriate disposal”.

MacDonald was jailed for 12 months for the incident involving pouring petrol over his home and given a further consecutive nine-month custodial term for the knife possession on Tranent High Street.

The sheriff said that she was deferring sentence on the two matters involving the abuse of MacDonald’s father and brandishing a knife at Mr Robertson for six months for him to engage with services while in prison.