'My relief at being cleared of car arson'

Daily Echo: Dalvinder Gujra Dalvinder Gujra

TWO people accused of an arson attack which saw a top-of-the range car explode in a residential street have been cleared of all charges.

Crystel Davies, 21, and Dalvinder Gujra, 27, were charged following the dramatic blaze in

Bitterne Road East, Southampton, in which an £11,000 Range Rover was destroyed after petrol had been poured over it and set alight.

An attempt to set fire to a BMW car parked a few yards away failed.

Throughout the eight-day trial the pair denied two counts of attempted arson when reckless as to whether life would be endangered and one of arson.

A third man, Michael McGraw, 24, of Sidlesham Close, Hayling Island, admitted the three charges.

Following the trial jurors deliberated for four-and-half-hours before clearing Ms Davies, of Larkwhistle Way, Havant, and Mr Gujra.

He has since told of his relief after fearing he would be jailed for up to 12 years.

Mr Gujra told the Daily Echo he was determined to start building a new life and feared this would have been scuppered if the jury convicted him.

He also described the tears of joy for his co-defendant Crystel Davies whom he said knew nothing of what was going on.

“I was relieved,” he said.

“In my mind I was confident that it would be a not guilty verdict. It was the best feeling, I have never felt better in my life – to be allowed to walk out of the court.”

The not guilty verdicts came after Mr Gujra told Southampton Crown Court how he had been approached by Balbir Roath, the car owner, and his son, Shakti, on Christmas Eve to destroy his car as part of an insurance scam. 

“Both of them asked if I was interested in doing a job for them,” he told jurors during the trial.

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The jury also heard how a second man, Michael McGraw, had poured petrol over an £11,000 Range Rover which went up in flames at about 5am on December 30 in Bitterne Road East.

But the court heard how his attempt to torch a BMW parked a few feet away failed and two other sons of owner Balbir Roath then got into the car to follow McGraw who had got into the back seat of a waiting Hyundai which was being driven by Crystel Davies.

Mr Gujra, of Halliday Crescent, Portsmouth, told jurors how Davies was in a state of shock and did not know what was going on.

McGraw will be sentenced at a date to be fixed.


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