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Man jailed for setting fire to north-east house with baby inside

The High Court in Edinburgh
The High Court in Edinburgh

A man who started a fire outside a house endangering a baby has been jailed for 10 years.

Dylan Mason, 21, tried to set the front door of the home alight in the early hours of the morning of August 12 last year while the child and a woman were there.

Mason’s accomplices in subsequent crimes, Reece Gaughan, Lee Murphy and Michael O’Brien, were sentenced to a total of 18 years imprisonment after forcing entry to addresses to threaten and assault.

Mason was originally charged with the attempted murder of the woman and child following the blaze at Murison Place in Fraserburgh.

After an earlier trial at the High Court in Edinburgh he was acquitted of the murder bid, but convicted of a lesser charge of wilfully attempting to set fire to the front door to the danger of the lives of occupants.

Mason, of no fixed abode, was linked to the crime through DNA evidence.

Mason was returned to the dock at the end of the trial to join three others who had all admitted violent offences committed in the Fraserburgh area.

The judge, Lord Pentland, told Mason that the crimes were “extremely serious offences” which merited a substantial custodial sentence.

Warehouseman Gaughan, 23, and unemployed Murphy, 24, and O’Brien, 22, were, like Mason, from the Liverpool area, but had lived at addresses in the Fraserburgh area.

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First offender Gaughan was jailed for seven years, Murphy for five years and O’Brien for six years for their roles in the crime spree.

On September 10 last year Mason, Gaughan and O’Brien were involved in an attack on a man at a flat in Academy Road, in Fraserburgh, where the victim was struck on the face with a machete during a robbery that netted £800.

The following day Mason, Gaughan, O’Brien and Murphy were involved in a further assault and attempted robbery at a house in Moray Road, Fraserburgh.

Defence counsel Drew Mackenzie, for Mason, said he has shown remorse for his actions.

Edward Targowski, for Gaughan, said: “This is the first time he has come before the court on any matter.”

Defence counsel Simon Gilbride, for Murphy, said he had an “unenviable” criminal record, but now wanted to become a useful member of society.

O’Brien’s counsel Wendy Hay said he was “ashamed” of his behaviour.

After the case Detective Inspector Sam Buchan, who led the investigation, said: “North Aberdeenshire is a close community and safe place to live therefore when incidents like these happen, extensive and thorough investigations will be carried out by my teams.

“No stone will be left unturned to allow us to bring offenders to court.

“Had it not been for the willingness of the local community in Fraserburgh to co-operate and engage with my officers then the opportunity to present all of the accused to court would have been much more challenging.”

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