‘Evil’ Doncaster man jailed for 25 years after trying to set ex-partner on fire in front of children

Michael Parkin
Michael Parkin
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An ‘evil’ Doncaster man has been jailed for 25 years after dousing his former partner in petrol and trying to set her on fire in front of two young children.

Sentencing Michael Parkin at Sheffield Crown Court, Judge Julian Goose labelled him ‘cruel’, ‘evil’ and ‘sadistic’.

Parkin, aged 32, of Melville Avenue, Balby, Doncaster, was jailed after admitting the attempted murder of Zara Webster after she had told him she wanted to end their relationship.

The court heard Parkin was often ‘violent’ and ‘volatile’ towards Miss Webster before she told him she wanted to end the ‘highly-charged and volatile’ relationship.

Matthew Donkin, prosecuting, said, on hearing the news, Parkin dragged her into the kitchen by the hair and punched her ‘five or six times’, only stopping when a friend interrupted them.

Mr Donkin said the victim later locked her five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter in a bedroom and went to sleep.

The next morning, when Parkin again turned violent, she took the children to a family member’s house, texting Parkin to return her keys there.

However, Mr Donkin said, when Parkin arrived, he threw the keys into in the road and shouted abuse, before threatening to burn the house down with her in it while she slept.

She returned to her Balby home, with her 13-year-old niece as well as the younger children, where, the court heard, Parkin later kicked the door down,

Mr Donkin said Parkin marched into the living room, drunk and high on drugs, carrying two lighters and a petrol can.

He said Parkin poured petrol on Ms Webster’s face and tried to set her on fire in front of two older children.

A neighbour managed to interrupt and Miss Webster told the youngsters to run.

Parkin told the neighbour: “I wish my lighter worked, I didn’t finish the job, I wanted her burnt to death.”

The court heard Miss Webster’s sister then came round to retrieve the two-year-old as Parkin tried to stop her.

The court was told Parkin had previously threatened another former partner to douse her in petrol and set her on fire.

Timothy Savage, mitigating said it was ‘desperation’ at this point in the relationship and he thought he could lose access to the children.

He said: “He is disgusted and ashamed by his actions and feels remorse, shame and empathy.

“He says he would never have done this sober and accepts responsibility for what he has done.

“He has the desire to make a fresh start after his release.”

Mr Savage said Parkin had drunk heavily from the age of 13 and ‘couldn’t start the day’ without it.

Sentencing, Judge Goose said: “This was an evil and sadistic attempted murder and you tried this in the cruellest possible way.

“A 13-year-old and a five-year-old child would have to witness her die in excruciating agony.

“You pose a significant threat to woman and children, I’m confident of that.”

Judge Goose said it was ‘pure luck’ the lighters didn’t work as police tests revealed that they were both operational.