Ex paratrooper launched firebomb attack after Burnley pub fracas

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A former paratrooper launched a “revenge” firebomb attack on a man he believed caused his girlfriend to suffer a miscarriage after a bar room brawl, a court heard.

John Thomas McIvor (31) claimed Anthony Horrocks had landed a blow on the stomach of his pregnant partner who lost her baby – so he torched the father-of-two’s car as his children slept inside the house, Burnley magistrates were told.

The Burnley defendant, who served as a crack sniper with 3 PARA for 11 years, had been involved in a pub scuffle with the victim earlier in the night where he was reported to have shouted “one of my kids has died and your kids are going to die, too.”

Father-of-three McIvor, formerly of Lisbon Drive, pleaded guilty to the arson attack which happened on October 5th last year.

The court was told that McIvor had been out for a birthday drink on his own when Mr Horrocks walked into the Coal Clough pub with his partner.

Mr Horrocks was confronted by McIvor and the court was told he “went ballistic” shouting and making threats about his family. A scuffle ensued between the two men before bar staff broke it up and McIvor was thrown out.

Mr Horrocks got a call from their babysitter to say his car was on fire and smoke was coming into the house where his children were.

Alex Mann (prosecuting) said: “It was a revenge attack and it involved deliberately setting a car on fire. It caused significant damage totalling £1,400.”

The court was told the feud started after a fight in which McIvor was badly beaten up protecting his partner outside the Railway pub in 2010. The defendant blamed Mr Horrocks for his partner losing her baby – something Mr Horrocks refuted as “lies”.

Nick Cassidy (defending) said his client was threatened by a group of men following the fight and had a metal bar brandished at him. Police took the threats on him so serious that fire safety devices were installed in his home.

Mr Cassidy said his client had no previous convictions, and the arson incident was a “moment of madness” and totally out of character. The defendant, who served three tours in Afghanistan, is now a carer for his disabled partner and their three children. He will be sentenced at Burnley Crown Court on May 28th.