Killer set his victim on fire.

Posted: December 4, 2009 in Law & Disorder

IlieStewart Blackburn, 18, doused his girlfriend, Jessica McCagh, in petrol and set her on fire.

Jessica, 17, became engulfed in a ball of flames when Stewart Blackburn set her alight in the bedroom of his flat in Arbroath, Angus, on April 25 this year.

A jury took less than two hours to find 18-year-old Blackburn guilty of murder after a 10-day trial at the High Court in Livingston.

Blackburn had tried to plead guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide at the start of his trial, insisting the blaze in which Jessica burnt to death was not started intentionally.

However prosecutors maintained the fire at his Bloomfield Road flat was deliberate and they insisted he should face trial for murder.

Independent forensic scientist Andrew Wade said Jessica may have been deliberately trapped in her bedroom by her attacker after she was set on fire. His scientific findings were “consistent with” the door having been held shut.

Prosecutors said that Blackburn doused Miss McCagh and a bed in petrol and set her on fire on 25 April this year.

Mr Wade, who has examined more than 1,000 fires, told the High Court in Livingston that he prepared a report on his investigations of Blackburn’s flat after the fire.

He said damage found on the handle of the bedroom door was “indicative of mechanical force being applied”, for example by the door being pulled from one side. He told the court, on the eighth day of the trial: “The bedroom door had been closed for the duration of the fire and Jessica McCagh was unable to escape through it.”

Mr Wade also told the court that the “severe destruction” of one corner of the bed and the damage in that area was “consistent with ignition of flammable liquid, such as petrol”.

He said: “In our view, the fire was the result of ignition of petrol on the clothing of Jessica McCagh and the bed she was sitting on, and this petrol was ignited by a naked flame, such as from a match, cigarette lighter or a lit taper.” Burns to Blackburn’s clothing around the legs were consistent with him having been in the area during the fire, he added.

Solicitor General Frank Mulholland, QC, prosecuting, said: “Jessica McCagh is sitting in the corner of the bed. Petrol is poured on her. She is set on fire with the naked flame from a lighter. The fire takes effect. Mr Blackburn then leaves the room, the door is closed and he holds it closed”.

IlieHow many years Blackburn will be jailed for remains to be decided but as we all know this will be cut in half as a matter of course. After a few years of playing on a playstation in his cell this killer will be free to walk our streets once again. That’s if he doesn’t walk out of his open prison or absconds on his day release first.

Is it time to re-introduce capital punishment?


At its core the term “culpable homicide” refers to an unlawful killing which is not classified as murder due to the evil intention of killing being absent. It is a term that is used in Scottish law and amongst several places and countries where the English Common Law system of Justice is administered. It is equitable to the term manslaughter.


  1. This lowlife should never be released,simple as that!
    I heard on the radio today about a young man that tried to drown his pregnant girlfriend , something to do with her pregnancy affecting his career as a rapper!
    What the hell is going on?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s