A MAN who drove an oil tanker into a house while his wife was inside has been jailed for seven years.

Hugh Robertson Billington, 51, was sentenced at Dorchester Crown Court today after admitting offences of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered, dangerous driving, theft and assault.

The charges related to January 20 this year when Billington drove a seven-and-a-half-tonne fuel tanker containing 2,000 litres of kerosene into the property in Folly Lane in Wool before starting a number of fires around the tanker and inside the house.

As he fled the scene he assaulted off-duty special constable Trevor Knott who had tried to detain the defendant.

Mrs Billington managed to escape the scene and passing motorist Darren Fletcher bravely reversed the tanker away from the house before attempting to put out the fire.

Billington also admitted stealing a boiler suit and rugby shirt from Oliver Towers on the same date.

In a statement released prior to the sentencing, prosecutor Jennie Rickman said: “It is clear that this was a very traumatic incident for Mrs Billington who continues to suffer the effects of the events of that day, the loss of her home and the majority of her personal possessions.

“I hope that following the conclusion of this case Mrs Billington can now start to rebuild her life.”

See Tuesday's Echo for the full story.