Man filmed setting fire to flat with child inside jailed for murder bid

Craig McQuillian was sentenced to six years in prison after setting fire to a flat in Edinburgh, in November 2023.

An NHS courier has been jailed for six years after setting fire to the front door of a flat with a man and child inside.

Craig McQuillian was caught on camera entering the flat block in the Muirhouse area of Edinburgh carrying a crowbar, Asda carrier bag and petrol container at around 11.30pm on November 12, 2023.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how the 44-year-old, who worked as a courier delivering organs for the NHS, poured petrol over the front door of the victim’s flat before setting it alight and fleeing the scene.

A young child, who was inside the targeted flat, raised the alarm by shouting “fire” after he smelt burning whilst in bed.

The flat’s other occupant was able to extinguish the flames using a wet towel before emergency services arrived on the scene.

Prosecutor Brian Gill KC told judge Lord Mulholland that McQuillian’s family member had started a relationship with the victim’s former partner and she had fallen pregnant.

Defence advocate Sarah Livingstone said the man had subjected McQuillian’s family member to a “campaign of harassment” during the time they were together, and threatened to “kick the baby” out of the woman’s stomach.

Ms Livingston added: “At about 20 minutes before he attended at the property, the [relative] played a voice note which had been left by the victim to the accused.

“The red mist then came down on Mr McQuillian and he drove to the flat.”

McQuillian pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted murder at the High Court in Edinburgh where he was sentenced to six years in prison.

Moira Orr, who leads on homicide and major crime for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said:  “This was an extremely reckless act that could have had devastating consequences had it not been for the brave and swift actions of his victims.

“Craig McQuillian carefully planned this targeted attack, which took place when most residents would have been asleep in bed.

“It was only by good fortune that the young child smelled burning and was able to raise the alarm in time.

“McQuillian will now have to face the consequences of his callous actions and I hope this conviction gives his victims some comfort.

“Our prosecutors will continue to do our utmost to prosecute those who carry out dangerous acts such as this to help keep the communities we serve safe.”

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service commander, who attended the incident at the 14-storey tower block, said the fire could have spread, creating a risk of additional casualties and damage to the flats above, below and on the same floor.

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