A man who set a fire outside a house endangering a baby and then went on a violent robbing spree has been jailed.
Dylan Mason set fire to the front door of the property in Fraserburgh’s Murison Place while the child and a woman were inside.
A neighbour managed to extinguish the blaze, but told the court it was “so massive it covered the whole door”.
Mason, 21, was originally charged with attempted murder following the incident on August 12 last year, but was convicted of a lesser charge of wilfully attempting to set fire to the door to the danger of the lives of occupants after a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.
He returned to court today for sentence, alongside Reece Gaughan, Lee Murphy and Michael O’Brien, who he carried out a number of violent offences with in the weeks following.
Warehouseman Gaughan, 23, and unemployed Murphy, 24, O’Brien, 22, and Mason are all from the Liverpool area, but had lived at addresses in the Fraserburgh area.
The court heard that on September 10 last year, Mason, Gaughan and O’Brien attacked a man at a flat in the town’s Academy Road.
The victim was struck on the face with a machete before the trio fled with £800.
Mason, Gaughan and O’Brien admitted attacking the man to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement and robbing him.
Mason and Gaughan also admitted assaulting a second person, who was at the property too.
The following day Mason, Gaughan, O’Brien and Murphy were involved in a further assault and attempted robbery at a house in Moray Road in Fraserburgh.
Gaughan was wearing a Halloween-style mask and holding a pole when he turned up at the address with O’Brien, who had a machete.
Guaghan removed his mask and pointed the pole at the victim’s head and demanded to know where another man was. When the victim said he did not know who Guaghan was talking about, he then held the pole against his partner’s head and demanded cash.
Gaughan and his accomplices ran into a back garden and jumped a wall before getting into a car and making their getaway.
Police traced first offenders Gaughan and Mason to a house in nearby Sandhaven on September 12 and also recovered the machete.
Judge Lord Pentland told first offender Mason the fire-raising charge was an “extremely serious offence” and jailed him for 10 years. Gaughan was locked up for seven years.
Murphy – who has previous convictions for drugs, possession of an offensive weapon, harassment and vandalism – was jailed for five years, while O’Brien – who has previous convictions for supplying Class A drugs – was locked up for six years.
Detective Inspector Sam Buchan, who led the investigation, last night welcomed the sentencing.
He said: “The lasting impact on the victims involved in these horrendous incidents cannot be underestimated. 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, and as can be seen here. No stone will be left unturned to allow us to bring offenders to court.
“I would like to thank the local residents who assisted us with inquiries. 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.
“Let me be quite clear – if you choose to come to north Aberdeenshire and choose to act in such a violent way, you will not get away with it and you run the risk of receiving a significant custodial sentence at court.”