Family pay tribute as two men jailed for fatal arson attack

Today, Friday 21 July, two men have been jailed for a total of 33 years following an arson attack at a house in Old Swan last year where a man died as a result of his injuries fleeing the blaze.

In the early hours of 1 September 2022, officers were called to a report of a fire at a property on Dorien Road.   

A man and a woman were taken to hospital with smoke inhalation and other injuries. 

George Redmond, 76 years, fell and broke his hip while trying to escape the blaze. He sadly passed away in hospital from his injuries on 16 September.

Wayne Hepburn, 46 years, of no fixed abode, and Fraser Dolman, 37 years, of Leigh, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit manslaughter and arson with intent at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday 17 July.

Hepburn received 15 years in prison, while Dolman received 16 years and 3 months.

James Goulding, aged 26 of St Helens who was an associate of the two men was also sentenced today to 6 years for drugs offences on a separate matter. 

George Redmond/Family handout

A family statement read out in court said, “It’s been 10 months now since the petrol attack on our home and the death of George – a much-loved husband, dad and grandad – and the saying that time is a healer is just not true.

“Every day we wake and remember the gravity of the incident which ultimately ended his life earlier than natural order of how a peaceful death in old age should be.

“No one should ever be subjected it such horrific attack in their own home. The fear and stress he experienced while in hospital after the attack will stay with us forever. A fear that Mary still lives through every single day.

“Flashbacks and nightmares are a feature of everyday life now. Waking to the slightest noise, being suspicious of anyone who knocks at the door, being scared to go out alone and spending every day asking why?

“Why did this happen to us, to our home? Sleepless nights are a common place now as are breathing difficulties as a result of smoke inhalation. You cannot even begin to imagine how smoke lingers for so much longer after a fire is extinguished. Even George’s beloved dog Belle sits at the top of the stairs still waiting for him and is scared by the slightest noise. 

“While houses can be repaired and fire damage can be covered up, memories cannot be erased. This in itself is both a blessing and curse. On the one hand it allows us to remember many happy memories of times gone before, of a loving family man who lived solely for his wife, his children and grandchildren. We were his whole world just as he was ours. Everything he did, he did for us. 

“On the other hand it means that we relive the night of the attack over and over and are reminded of what we have lost every single day. All the things he will kiss, and all the firsts are the hardest.

“While nothing can ever undo or make us understand or even come to terms with this appalling situation, we hope that justice can be served, this will at least offer us some small comfort as we continue the grieving process. Least of all because we would not wish for anyone else to ever experience what we as a family have gone and continue to go through.

“Our fear is that if someone is able to petrol bomb a house once, then they are certainly capable of doing it again if they think they can get away with it. Justice must prevail so that those capable of such heinous crimes are taken out of society and are not able to do this to anyone else.”

Detective Inspector Gavin Mulcahy said, “This was a tragic and shocking attack on innocent occupants from an arson attack where Dolman and Hepburn targeted the wrong house.

“The local community were not only shocked at the arson attack, but also the tragic consequences where George lost his life weeks later as a result of sustaining injuries escaping the fire.  George’s wife, Mary narrowly escaped also requiring treatment for smoke inhalation.

“Thankfully both offenders entered guilty pleas at the start of the trial which spared the family from having to relive the horrific night of the arson attack where the wrong house was deliberately set fire to. 

“No one can comprehend Hepburn and Dolman’s mindless and stupid act. I want to thank the community in Old Swan who came together to support both the family and the police conducting extensive enquiries following the attack.  After a complex investigation I hope this sentencing demonstrates our commitment and relentless pursuit to catch and prosecute such offenders.”

“Losing a husband, father and grandfather, has had a devasting impact on Mary and her family. Although no prison term will bring George back, I hope today’s sentencing provides them some solace that Dolman and Hepburn are paying for their crimes.”

Image: (L-R) Hepburn and Dolman

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