THREE men who left a grandmother with horrific injuries after throwing flammable liquids through her window have today been jailed.

Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, a couple were at home on Montreal Street in Leigh when their windows were smashed and a flammable liquid was thrown inside and set alight.

They managed to escape the inferno but the woman – who is in her 60s – suffered life-changing injuries as a result of the attack.

Once the flames were extinguished, it became apparent that the fire had been started deliberately.

The investigation found that the lounge window had been smashed and an accelerant thrown inside.

The scene of the fire

A Lucozade Sport bottle, with its drinking cap attached, was recovered from the front garden of the property. It contained a green liquid which was tested and found to be a petroleum product

The bottle drinking spout was swabbed, and DNA matching that of Andrew Bamford, 38, was recovered from the drinking spout.

Leigh Journal:

Andrew Bamford

Officers then reviewed CCTV footage and identified a dark-coloured saloon taxi in the vicinity of Montreal Street at the time and enquiries found that Zana Ali, 35, was the driver.

Ali's PDA, which is a device taxi’s use for satellite navigation and job distribution, pinpointed him to the area at the time of the fire as well as linking him to an earlier arson attack on a house in Huyton on Sunday, October 14.

Leigh Journal:

Zana Ali

On the evening of October 13 2018, Ali met up with Jake Hignett, 22 and Neil Stanton, 41, at a pub in Leigh, before driving to a petrol station on the East Lancs.

Ali purchased a nine-pack of toilet roll and a bottle of Lucozade Sport.

A few minutes later, Stanton entered the shop and purchased a petrol canister before filling it up with petrol and paying for the fuel.

The GPS tracking system revealed the taxi then drove to Mardale Road in Huyton, where it arrived at 12.42am.

CCTV images shows two people approach a property via the front gate at 12.46am, before going towards the front door then running away.

Leigh Journal:

Jake Hignett

Minutes later, emergency services were called.

No one was at home at the time of the fire, but a dog had to be rescued by the fire service who battled to control the blaze as it tore through the ground floor of the property,

Today, Friday, at Manchester Crown Court, all four men were jailed for their part in the fires.

Leigh Journal:

Neil Stanton

Jake Hignett, of Kimberley Avenue, Thatto Heath, St Helens was sentenced to 16 years and one month in prison after pleading guilty to arson with intent in relation to the fire at Montreal Street and arson being reckless for the Huyton fire.

Andrew Bamford of Pendle Road, Golborne pleaded guilty to arson with intent at Montreal Street and was sentenced to 10 years and nine months in prison.

Zana Ali of Thirlmere Street, Leigh was sentenced to nine years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to arson being reckless for the Leigh and Huyton fire.

Neil Stanton of Lower Hall Street, St Helens has been sentenced to eight years two months in prison after pleading guilty to arson being reckless for the Huyton fire and dangerous driving.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Wilkinson of GMP’s Major Investigations Team, said: “These men went to Montreal Street with the intention of putting the lives of the occupants at risk, which nearly cost the life of the elderly lady, and their brutality knows no bounds.

“It was not just bricks and mortar, but people’s lives and homes that were destroyed in these fires, and my thoughts remain with the woman who suffered significant and life changing injuries.

“I would like to thank all the officers involved in what has been a thorough and complex investigation for all their efforts in helping to secure today’s result.”