Ex boyfriend torched woman’s BMW on her drive

A vile ex-boyfriend torched his former partner's BMW after seeing her on a night out with other men.

Richard Foster's lawyer today said the dad-of-two was "wounded" when Alexandria Ward broke up with him.

In a series of threatening phone calls, the jealous 34-year-old said: "Watch what will happen to you."

Miss Ward was having drinks with friends at her Maghull home when her BMW 320 M-Sport was then set ablaze.

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After she told Foster he was caught on CCTV, he rang back and offered £20,000 to "forget about the whole thing".

But the conversation was recorded by police and Foster had also been captured on camera buying a can of petrol.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the couple were in a relationship for around five months, which ended in December 2018.

Sarah Griffin, prosecuting, said Miss Ward went out drinking with friends on February 1, 2019.

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In the early hours of the next day she received 10 phone calls from two different numbers, all from Foster.

Ms Griffin said Foster was "aggressive", saying he had just seen Miss Ward on South Road in Waterloo, when she had been in a group with a number of men.

Foster warned: "Watch what is going to happen, watch what will happen to you. I will go to your mum's and I will come to yours. Watch."

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Ms Griffin said: "She replied telling him to f*** off and that he wouldn't do anything because he had made similar threats to her before and never carried them out."

The victim got home with friends at around 3am and carried on having drinks in her kitchen.

However, when she went upstairs to check on a friend she saw flames at the front of the house, ran downstairs and opened the door to find her BMW in flames.

Ms Griffin said initially the flames were only small so her friends tried to put the fire out, but the blaze became more intense and "in fear the car may explode" they fled to the back garden.

Firefighters and police arrived, before Miss Ward received another call from Foster, and told him she had him on CCTV.

Foster replied: "How can you have seen me? I paid someone to do it."

However, police recorded him on body-worn cameras when he rang back and said he would give her £20,000 to "forget about the whole thing and drop it", before an officer took the phone and he hung up.

Police went to a Shell garage in Maghull, where a worker revealed a man had been in to buy a green petrol can, discovered at the end of Miss Ward's drive.

She said the man filled it with unleaded fuel, paid in cash and got into the back of a car containing two other men.

An officer viewed CCTV from the garage and immediately recognised Foster, who was circulated as wanted.

He contacted police and met officers at Costco on February 6, before later giving a no comment interview.

Fire experts found fuel was poured over the front and back of the BMW then lit, causing "significant damage" to the £20,490 vehicle, which was written off.

There was also damage to the home's fascia boards, gutters and a porch window.

Ms Griffin said Miss Ward "no longer wished to engage with the prosecution" and didn't make a victim statement.

Foster, of Princes Parade, Liverpool city centre, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

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Ms Griffin suggested it was "possibly a revenge attack, the defendant having seen the complainant out with or in the company of other men".

Foster has eight previous convictions for nine offences, dating back to 2005.

They include drink driving, dealing and possessing cocaine, damaging property and careless driving.

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He was convicted of criminal damage last July, when he received a restraining order relating to another woman, and dangerous driving in October, when he was spared jail.

Stella Hayden, defending, said the financial impact wasn't as substantial as in some arson cases, because Miss Ward received £19,388 on insurance.

She said her client had shown insight and remorse, adding: "He's candid in his admission that he was wounded by the break-up of the relationship two months previously and appreciates his anger overtook him and led him to behave in a way that was both irresponsible and dangerous."

Richard Foster, 34, of Princes Parade, Liverpool city centre

The lawyer said Foster had two children, aged seven and 15, whose mum was sitting in the public gallery.

Ms Hayden said: "She has attended court today in support of him and speaks with positivity about their relationship and the role he plays in the life of his children and the support he provides to her in respect of their care."

She said Foster was on medication for anxiety and depression, under the care of Clock View Hospital and awaiting an ADHD assessment.

Urging the judge to spare him jail, Ms Hayden said Foster had stable accommodation, was now working for his dad and had been out of trouble since October.

Judge Louise Brandon said she was satisfied Foster's culpability was "high", adding: "This was in the court's judgement a revenge attack."

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She said: "The intention was to cause very serious damage to that car and it was an incredibly risky and dangerous act, which also caused damage to the house."

Judge Brandon said the arson was more serious because it was in a "domestic violence context".

She said: "I'm told you're remorseful and I accept that, although the insight that I'm told you now have is limited in this court's judgement, because you have committed further offences since."

The judge said there was no evidence to suggest his mental health issues affected his culpability.

Judge Brandon jailed Foster for two years and three months, as the mum of his children sobbed.