Northampton man steals neighbour's car, crashes it and sets it on fire with petrol, court hears

Oliver Head, 27, crashed a stolen car into a tree and set it on fire with petrol.
Oliver Head, 27, crashed a stolen car into a tree and set it on fire with petrol.

A Northampton man who used petrol to torch a car he stole from a neighbour after crashing it into a tree has been jailed.

Oliver Head, 27, from Park Drive, drove the stolen Jaguar off the road onto a grass verge on Talavera Way in July this year.

But rather than own up to the theft and crash, he dumped a Jerry can of petrol on the vehicle, set it on fire and ran from the scene.

Northampton Crown Court also heard yesterday (August 21) that the Jaguar "exploded" when fire officers arrived to battle the blaze.

Then, when police tracked Head down to his flat, they found him hiding in the loft.

But rather than surrender, Head "punched" his way through the roof and threw loose tiles down at officers' cars, shouting "you're all pigs".

He was subsequently arrested and he later pleaded guilty to stealing the vehicle and arson.

The court heard how Head stole the car from the neighbour by knocking on his door in the late evening of July 13 until he was let in, where he swiped the car key without the victim knowing.

Then at around 1am on July 14, Head filled up the stolen Jaguar - valued at £700 - at a petrol station. He told staff he didn't have any money and gave them the victim's personal details for them to cover the payment.

In a victim impact statement, the neighbour told police: "I feel betrayed by [Head] like I've been taken advantage of.

"I have struggled to sleep since the incident... I feel I am on the verge of an emotional breakdown".

The prosecution told the court that at the time of the offence, Head - who has 36 convictions for 58 previous offences - "did not have a driver's licence and never has".

Head was jailed for 24 months and was disqualified from driving.