Crazed tree surgeon jailed for chainsaw attack


A crazed tree surgeon who attacked his ex-girlfriend’s car with a chainsaw in a ”scene from a horror movie” before dousing her in petrol and torching her home has been jailed for six years.

Bare-chested David Nott, 34, went on the rampage when he arrived at ex-girlfriend Rebecca Slade’s home to collect their two-year-old daughter Isabella.

She watched in horror as he stripped to the waist before attacking her £15,000 BMW with a chainsaw.

He then used a metal rod to prise open Miss Slade’s front door before he doused her and her new boyfriend Keith Greehan in petrol and set fire to her home.

Nott pleaded guilty to affray, dangerous driving, criminal damage and arson reckless as to whether life is endangered at Oxford Crown Court last Friday.

Sentencing him to six years and four months in prison, Recorder Sandeep Kainth told Nott it was ”one of the worst cases [of such an arson] I’ve ever come across.”

He added: ”It is unbelievable. When your own children are involved it simply beggars belief.”

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The court heard how Nott drove to Miss Slade’s home in Kennington, near Oxford, on June 24 in a pre-arranged visit to pick up their daughter.

Henry James, prosecuting, said Nott, who lived an ”itinerant lifestyle”, claimed he flipped after he became concerned about Mr Greehan taking drugs.

He said: ”It reads more like the script of a horror film than the usual case that comes before the criminal courts.

”He was described coming out of his van bare-chested carrying in his hand a chainsaw and also some sort of metal implement with a chisel end.

”He started up the chainsaw and started to attack her car.”

Nott also slashed the tyres and damaged the driver’s door while Miss Slade, Mr Greehan and her 12-year-old son Mark barricaded themselves in an upstairs bedroom.

But Nott charged at the front door and used a metal rod to prise it open before going upstairs.

A statement from Miss Slade, which was read out in court, said: ”I could hear repeated smashing noises then I heard footsteps upstairs followed by the bedroom door being pushed.

”Something came crashing through the top panel of the door, some kind of metal tool.

”I could hear liquid sloshing about as he smashed his way through the bedroom door.

”He was pouring it over my head and face, and Keith. I could tell from the smell it was petrol being poured through the door.”

Her terrified son Mark managed to squeeze past Nott and run downstairs.

Miss Slade and Mr Greehan also escaped before Nott lit a match starting a blaze which caused £55,000 worth of damage.

The court heard Nott fled the scene in his van with his two-year-old daughter inside but returned after emergency services had arrived.

Shockingly, Nott then drove his van through a police road block and crashed into a fire engine before he was restrained by police using CS spray.

A victim statement by Miss Slade said: ”It was a life-changing experience and we have had to leave the area.”

Mr James added: ”It’s an extremely serious case which was very frightening for those who were present and it was traumatic to an extraordinary degree to the 12-year-old boy.”

Shaun Wallace, defending, said: ”I cannot think of any more shocking way to behave, irrespective of the circumstances.

”His mind was outside of his body, the two working completely separately and the red mist completely descended.”


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