A FIREBUG who torched a New Cumnock family’s home has been jailed.

Neil McGee, 51, deliberately set fire to the property in Redree Place on the night of November 7, 2021 – and then delayed raising the alarm.

The blaze completely destroyed the property, the strength of the fire destroying windows and doors on the family home as well as the contents within them. 

The house next door also suffered damage as a result.

Cumnock Chronicle:

McGee appeared in court for sentencing last week after being found guilty at a trial of intentionally causing the devastating blaze by setting light to the property using an unknown accelerant.

A judge told McGee that the “panic” of the home’s occupants “can only be imagined”.

The fire could be seen hundreds of metres away.

The Chronicle previously told how McGee was arrested and appeared in court the day after the incident – in which fortunately no-one was injured.

Cumnock Chronicle:

McGee was also found to have shouted, sworn and uttered threats of violence towards a man and a woman on a footpath near to Redree Place on the night of the fire.

At a hearing at Ayr Sheriff Court on Friday, April 21, McGee was jailed for three and a half years.

Defence solicitor Tony Currie told the hearing his client was remorseful and regretful of his actions – despite having pleaded not guilty to both charges, resulting in the case going to trial.

Mr Currie said: "The situation he finds himself is not lost on him.

Cumnock Chronicle: A still image taken from video footage of the house fire in Redree Place in November 2021

"It's a very serious matter that fortunately didn't lead to more catastrophic consequences.

"He was oblivious due to his condition. He fully accepts the verdict.”

Sheriff Shirley Foran told McGee: "You were found guilty of the most serious charge here.

"You were found guilty of raising the fire using an accelerant, probably petrol.

Cumnock Chronicle:

“The footage shows you delayed raising the alarm, leading to you committing the second charge on the indictment.

"The devastation could clearly be seen in the images shown at trial. The house was gutted, and items of personal and financial value lost.

"The panic can only be imagined - I do not know the cost to them.

"Charge one is of such gravity a prison sentence cannot be avoided. The matter proceeded to trial, so no discount arises.

Cumnock Chronicle:

"I'm of the view a prison sentence of three and a half years is appropriate."

McGee received six months for the second charge, with the sentence to run concurrently with the fire-raising punishment.

A member of the public sitting in the courtroom said "ta-ta, ya b*****d” as McGee was led downstairs to start his sentence.