A convicted arsonist who left blood on his ex-girlfriend’s curtains after sending her pictures of a can of petrol has been locked up. Joshua Hayes messaged the woman on social media and said ‘I’m coming to watch it burn call me’ after threatening to set her apartment on fire.
He pinched items from her home after forcing their way into the property while she was away. The 27-year-old even told him “if you don’t come back, I’m going to break your apartment” and caused hundreds of pounds of damage inside.
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The latest offense comes after he was jailed for burning down the same victim’s house in 2016 after finding out she was having a baby. Hayes has now been locked up for 28 weeks, StokeonTrentLive reports.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Hayes and the victim, who have one child together, resume their ‘on-off’ relationship when he was released from prison and subsequently separated. On the day of the offense, Hayes called the victim while she was away and asked “if she was coming back.” She said no.
Prosecutor Gemma Maxwell said: “Later that evening the victim received another call. The defendant said: ‘If you don’t come back, I’m going to break into your apartment. I take the two laptops and the karaoke machine”.
“The next day she received a call from an elderly neighbor indicating that she could hear loud music coming from the victim’s apartment. She called the police to report that the accused was at her home.
“She then received two photographs on Facebook from the defendant – pictures of a petrol can. In another message, the defendant said ‘I’m coming to watch it burn, ring me’ and ‘ I play, I wait.
“When she returned home, she found blood on the curtains. Two laptops, an audio system and a karaoke machine had been taken away.
“There was writing on the bedroom wall and a number of items were damaged including a mirror, picture frame and CD player. The total value of the damaged items was £420 and the stolen items were valued at £200.”
Hayes, of St Andrews Drive, Newcastle, was arrested and questioned. He told police he “didn’t steal anything that didn’t belong to him”.
The following day, while in the North Etruria Zone Detention Center, Hayes refused to cooperate with officers as they attempted to escort him to a cell. There was a confrontation and Hayes bit a guard officer in the leg.
He later pleaded guilty to theft, sending malicious communications, criminal damage and assaulting a rescue worker. Hayes has been remanded in custody since he committed the offenses last December until his sentencing hearing.
Mitigating Barry White said: “The time he has been in detention has had a sobering effect on him and how he sees himself in the future. It’s important that when he sent the photo of the essence, he also wrote: ‘Plus moi’. He was talking about hurting himself. It wasn’t a direct threat.
“At the police station, there were fears that he would harm himself. He wants to change his life.”
Recorder Francesca Levett sentenced Hayes to 28 weeks in prison – although he could be immediately released on license due to the time he spent in pre-trial detention.
The judge said: “You have already served a long prison sentence for burning down his home. You sent him a picture of a petrol can which, in the context of your previous conviction, must have scared him. .”
Hayes also received a restraining order that prohibits him from contacting the victim or visiting her home for the next five years.
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