Skegness man who set fire to his girlfriend as she sat in armchair given extended sentence

Leigh Pateman Credit: Lincolnshire Police

A man who doused his girlfriend in petrol before setting her on fire has been given an extended prison sentence of more than 21 years.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Leigh Pateman, 43, poured fuel over 42-year-old Ellen Marshall as she sat in a chair at their flat in Skegness before using a lighter to ignite it.

He then fled. Firefighters discovered Ms Marshall, who is originally from Nottingham, lying on the floor of the property.

Pateman was arrested at his mother's house.

Ms Marshall suffered 80% burns in the incident on 22 April last year and was left needing ventilation. Her chances of survival were rated at less than 50 per cent. 

The court heard Pateman had made a previous threat to set his partner alight and had kept the petrol at his property, but she did not believe him.

Ms Marshall was still conscious when firefighters found her and managed to give her name, but claimed the injuries were self-inflicted.

She was taken to Boston Pilgrim Hospital with burns to her face, neck, abdomen, chest and limbs, and was quickly transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for specialist treatment.

Pateman told police he had been arguing with his then girlfriend for months and said they were both dependent on alcohol.

He claimed he bought the petrol for his strimmer, and only poured the petrol over her to scare her.

The court heard the victim, who is still being treated in hospital, lost several fingers, and can now only walk a few steps with a frame.

Specialists now hope she will survive her injuries, but even when she is discharged she will require 24-hour care.

Judge Simon Hirst said: "Her injuries are irreversible and she will never be able to return to her former life."

Pateman, of Firbeck Avenue, Skegness, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent on April 22, 2021.

He was sentenced to 17 years and 10 months and will serve a further four years on license after his release.

Det Insp Andy McWatt said: "This is such a tragic incident that has left Ellen with life-changing injuries. She is likely not to ever make a full recovery.

"I hope this sentence will bring some closure to the family."