PORTH - A victim of a drug-addled arsonist who torched three homes in 40 minutes has told of his terror at finding his home ablaze.
Tristan Woolger was one of the victims of firebug Michael James Jones, 26, who was jailed last week. Depressed Tristan has had to have his medication doubled after Jones stuffed a lit Domino’s pizza box through his living room window - and then tried to play the hero by calling 999.
“He could have killed us. He didn’t care whether we were awake or not,” the 33-year-old told WalesOnline. It could have been a whole lot worse. He did it knowing that people were at home, or could be at home, and were more than likely asleep.”
Tristan, of Porth in the Rhondda Valley, realised his home was alight when he smelled smoke. “I could see it coming up the stairs,” he said. “I could not see the bottom. I did not know what the hell was on fire downstairs. As I got to the bottom I could not see into the living room but the wall adjacent was flickering orange, yellow and red.”
Inside the room was ablaze. He filled a pan with water and managed to put the flames out before it was too late. The furniture and curtains were already starting to catch. Tristan was lucky he had not yet taken his medication when the arson attack happened as it would have put him to sleep. “If I had taken my medication, like I should have done, I dread to think what would have happened,” he said. “My partner was staying with me that night and she was out for the count. She did not know quite what was going on until after I called the police because I had been able to put the fire out.”
Unable to sleep, Tristan was tidying his rented property as the landlord was coming to inspect it. Jones had walked up the steps to see if my window was open,” he said. “He then ripped open my recycling bag, took out a Domino's box, lit it and posted it through. Who does that?”
The thug had just left Georgia Taylor’s home. There he tried to play the hero by calling the fire service. “He then came up, set fire to mine and walked off,” Tristan said. “He didn’t ring the fire brigade for me. I called them and they got to me at about 2.40am. He was then on his way to Trebanog Road to start the third fire.”
Tristan has to walk with crutches because of a nerve disease that affects his back. “I had to be put on stronger medication after it happened,” he said. “I was on anti-depressants before, but they doubled my dose after because of everything that had happened. I was like a zombie for the first couple of days.”
His girlfriend Katie – who went to school with Jones – was worried because Tristan “would not talk about it or show any emotion. I was trying to put everything together as to why someone would do something like this,” Tristan said. “I still have not reached a conclusion.”
Tristan hoped Jones would not be allowed back into Porth – where the June 26 arson spree happened – on his release from jail. The lunatic, of Craig Crescent, Porth was locked up for three-and-a-half years at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court this week after admitting arson at the the homes of Tristan, Georgia Taylor and Judith Nicholas.
Georgia and Tristan live just moments from one another on High Street, Porth. Judith lived 30 minutes away in the town’s Trebanog Road. Tristan fears that if Jones does not reform his ways, he could kill someone. He’s been sentenced to 18 months, he gets to watch TV and has the opportunity to educate himself and do this that and the other,” Tristan said. “I’ve now got a dog, Alfie, so that if anything moves outside at night he is there barking at the door."
The Mirror/Sept.27, 2014
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