Home detention for arson of ex partner's car

By Sandra Conchie

A Tauranga man who set fire to his former partner's car after failing to win her back has been sentenced to 12 months' home detention.

Painter Norman Lawrence Gregory, 39, of Whakamarama, who had pleaded guilty to a charge of arson, was sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday.

Judge Thomas Ingram also ordered Gregory to pay $500 emotional harm compensation to his victim plus $2500 reparation to her insurance company at $50 a week.

The police summary of facts reveals Gregory and the victim had been in a relationship for about a year until it ended in July.

In August, Gregory attempted to rekindle their relationship and began bombarding her with text messages to win her back, despite the fact she had a new partner.

On August 21, after the victim refused to become involved with him again, an angry Gregory sent a threatening text and that same night, after the victim again rebuffed him, went to the victim's home in Ohauiti and tapped on her window.

When she didn't respond, he sent her two more pleading texts before he cut the two rear tyres of her Nissan vehicle with a knife, returning home to get a container of petrol, some newspaper and a lighter.

He came back to her property, lit a piece of newspaper and placed it against the house causing minor smoke damage to the building.

Gregory then walked to the front of the property, put more newspaper under the victim's motor vehicle, poured petrol over the top, and then lit the paper and walked away.

The blaze cause major damage to her vehicle.

Judge Ingram told Gregory the usual sanction for an arson involving a house was a prison sentence but the arson charge in this case related to him torching the victim's car, and the summary of facts made it clear no lives had been jeopardised by his actions.

Judge Ingram said it was clear that Gregory had not been in a good state of mind at the time of his offending and he accepted he was genuinely remorseful.

"It was clear from the pre-sentence report and your letter of apology and your offer of amends that you do have insight in to the distress you have caused her."

Judge Ingram said in his view this was a case which did not require a prison sentence, and a sentence of home detention was in everyone's best interest as it would mean Gregory could work to repay the victim's losses.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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