A man has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of attempting to murder six people – including two children by setting fire to a flat door.
Philip Swarbrick, 42, also barricaded the door of a neighbouring property to stop people getting out.
The jury found him guilty of attempting to murder the residents by wilfully setting fire to a door of a ground floor flat on North Anderson Drive on January 26 this year, and barricading the door of a first floor flat of a neighbouring property with a wooden post preventing them from leaving.
The court heard that Swarbrick – who had denied the charge – had previous convictions for wilful fireraising and was out on licence at the time of the North Anderson Drive incident, having been released in May 2015 from a five-year sentence.
He had received that sentence at the high court in 2011 for assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and impairment and danger of life.
After the jury delivered its verdict Lord Burns told Swarbrick: “You have been found guilty of a very serious wilful fireraising, which endangered the lives not only of a woman and her father, but also the occupants of the other flat which you actually set on fire.
“The jury has found you guilty in addition of attempting to murder all of these people.”
He said on jailing him: “I can only take a serious view of this.”
The court had heard the fire started just after 2am, and was extinguished by residents prior to emergency services arriving.
Swarbrick, a prisoner of HMP Grampian, gave evidence during the trial and claimed he had been asleep at his father’s farm in Crimond when the fire occurred.
He told the court that fuel containers found in his van had red diesel in them, which he used to fill his vehicle.
The court also heard he owed money to a woman who lived in one of the flats and prior to the fire they had disagreed over how long he was taking to pay her back.
A series of text messages between the two were shown to the jury, in one of them Swarbrick told the woman to “book your own funeral”.
He claimed this was in reply to her threatening to get someone to “slice” his wife.