A second-hand car dealer has been convicted of murdering a mother and her young son in a fatal house fire in Eastbourne.
Jacob Barnard, pictured above, poured petrol through the letterbox of the home where Gina Ingles lived with her four-year-old son Milo Ingles-Bailey in July 2018.
Along with accomplice Andrew Milne, he had been trying to target her partner Toby Jarrett over an unpaid drug debt, reported BBC News.
Jarrett escaped from an upstairs window with serious injuries but his partner and her child died, as did a dog they’d been looking after.
Their remains were found by fire crews in an upstairs bedroom a short time after the blaze had been brought under control.
Both Barnard and Milne were seen on CCTV fleeing from the scene in a Mercedes ML270. They then gave the vehicle to business associate John Tabakis with instructions to get it out of the country. It was taken to Portugal via Dieppe from Newhaven.
After a six-week trial at Lewes Crown Court, Barnard and Milne were both found guilty of two charges of murder. They were also convicted of the attempted murder of Jarrett.
Tabakis, 31, of Hastings, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
The court was told that Barnard ran a business buying cars in the UK before selling them in Portugal and Milne worked for him as a debt collector. Barnard was also a drug dealer, according to the BBC report.
They initially hatched their plan after growing frustrated with Jarrett, who owed £400 to a local drug dealer who in turn owed money to Barnard.
The pair arrived at the home early on July 10, 2018 and poured petrol through the letterbox. They then set the whole house alight using a cigarette lighter, which was later found with Barnard’s DNA on it.
The jury heard that Jarrett woke about 1.30am to a room full of smoke and a yellow glow. The couple leapt out of bed with Ingles sprinting across the landing to her son’s room.
As flames engulfed the house, she grabbed Milo from his bed and ran back across the burning building.
However, she was unable to get herself out and both of them were killed. The body of a dog the family were looking after for a friend was found next to them.
Mobile phone data showed the attack was carefully planned, with Barnard and Milne, 42, from Hastings, exchanging calls the day before the blaze. Barnard had also exchanged calls with Tabakis.
In the months after the fire, Barnard fled to Portugal but was then sentenced to eight years in prison for unrelated drug offences.
At that point, officers from Sussex Police flew to Portugal and interviewed him. Now, after being found guilty of the offences, he has been warned to expect an even longer stint behind bars.
Senior investigating officer Gordon Denslow, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said after the hearing: ’The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the events which tragically cost Gina Ingles and her four-year-old son Milo their lives has been very long and very complex.
‘At no point have Barnard or Milne accepted responsibility for their actions in the early hours of 10 July 2018, or expressed any remorse or regret.
‘Instead, their unfounded denials in the face of compelling evidence have meant that Gina’s and Milo’s family have had to endure a long and painful wait to find out what really happened that night, and why.
‘They have been forced to relive the terrible loss of their loved ones once again during this trial.’
He added: ‘This was a carefully planned, cowardly, but horrific attack carried out by Barnard and Milne in the middle of the night against a defenceless family.
‘Tabakis then knowingly tried to help them get away with their crimes by driving the car they used during the attack to Portugal just hours afterwards.
‘Whilst there is sadly nothing that can ever be said or done to undo the events of that tragic night, I can only hope that this outcome provides some comfort to Gina’s and Milo’s family, who have acted with remarkable patience and dignity throughout this prolonged investigation.’
Barnard and Milne are expected to be sentenced this afternoon (May 28).
Main image: Sussex Police