Wayne Hepburn (left) and Fraser Dolman (right) have been jailed for the manslaugher of George Redmond (inset) (Picture: Trinity)
Two men have been jailed for killing a grandfather whose home was mistakenly targeted in a gangland arson attack.
George Redmond, 76, died just over two weeks after the front door of his home in Old Swan, Liverpool, was set alight by Wayne Hepburn in the early hours of September 1 last year.
The city’s crown court heard Hepburn, 47, had intended to carry out a ‘revenge’ attack linked to co-defendant Fraser Dolman’s involvement in the local drugs trade.
But tragically for Mr Redmond he ‘got it wrong’ when looking for the address because the houses on the cul-de-sac were numbered sequentially.
Hepburn who was living in Leigh, Greater Manchester, at the time of the offence, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and conspiracy to commit arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.
He also admitted three counts of burglary, one attempted burglary and one count of fraud by false representation related to separate incidents and was jailed for 15 years.
Dolman, 37, also of Leigh, admitted manslaughter, conspiracy to commit arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered and being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin.
He was jailed for 16 years and three months.
Sentencing the pair, the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Andrew Menary KC, described the incident as a ‘dreadful, cowardly attack’ with ‘catastrophic’ consequences for Mr Redmond and his family.
He said: ‘The fact of the matter is, George Redmond should not have died when he did or in the circumstances in which he did.’
Wayne Hepburn was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for the manslaughter of George Redmond (Picture: PA)
Fraser Dolman was jailed for 16 years and three months (Picture: PA)
George Redmond died just over two weeks after the front door of his home in Old Swan, Liverpool, was set alight (Picture: PA)
The judge said Hepburn, who refused to come to court to be sentenced, ‘has shown his contempt for these proceedings and frankly cowardly contempt for the victims of this offending by his refusal’.
Female relatives of Dolman shouted ‘see you in a bit, babe’, ‘love you, our kid’ and ‘f*** ‘em’ as they left court.
The court heard Hepburn drove to the area in a stolen car and was seen on CCTV carrying a petrol can to Mr Redmond’s home, pouring fuel over their front door and setting it alight – with the flames appearing to engulf him as well before he fled the scene.
Henry Riding, prosecuting, said: ‘This, in the opinion of the police and the Crown, was some form of revenge attack, carried out as a warning to those involved with Mr Dolman in drugs trafficking offences.’
He added: ‘This was meant to be targeting somebody else’s premises. The defendants did not necessarily appreciate or think there was somebody in the premises.’
The court heard Mr Redmond’s wife Mary was woken by her husband shouting from downstairs at about 3am and saw smoke engulfing the stairs.
Neighbours were able to extinguish the fire and help the couple out of the house, but Mr Redmond broke his hip as he fell while trying to escape.
Mr Riding said the grandfather had been in poor health at the time of the arson attack, but the opinion of Home Office pathologist Dr Jonathan Medcalf was that the injury and treatment made a more than minimal contribution to his death on September 16.
Reading a victim impact statement on behalf of her family, Mr Redmond’s daughter, Kathryn Bushnell, said: ‘Nobody should ever be subjected to such a horrific attack in their own home.
‘The fear and stress he experienced in hospital after the attack will stay with us forever. A fear our mum still lives through every single day.’
Chris Hudson, defending Hepburn, said: ‘He is clearly a follower rather than a leader. It was bungling ineptitude, that’s no consolation for those who have suffered the consequences.’
A third defendant, James Goulding, 26, of St Helens, Merseyside, was jailed for six years after admitting two counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
Charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to commit arson which he had faced were ordered to lie on the file.
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