A GAS utility worker has been jailed for torching the back door of a house while an eight-year-old child and her mother was inside.

Hugh Muir, 29, targeted the property after getting drunk on his way home from work and arguing with his partner.

The child heard "crackling" from the back door, before she and Muir's partner escaped unharmed.

On Tuesday, October 23, Stirling Sheriff Court was told that the incident occurred about 4.50pm on Friday, August 10 this year.

Muir, who had drunk at least four cans of beer after finishing his shift, was asked to leave by his partner because of his "intoxicated state".

At first he left without protest, but then returned, hammering at the front door, repeatedly punching and kicking the front and back doors, cracking the glass in the back door, and picking up a lawn chair and hitting a front window with it.

The tenant dialled 999, and when the call connected the operator heard a male voice shouting in the background.

Nicola Henderson, prosecuting, said after a few attempts at hitting the front window, Muir dropped the lawn chair and returned to the back door.

The depute fiscal told the court: "By this time the banging had stopped, and the complainer heard the accused raking around, looking for something.

"Muir returned to the front of the house and shouted: 'I'm going to f***ing kill you' before leaving in an unknown direction.

"The complainer was then alerted by the child of a crackling noise and smoke coming in around the back door."

Muir's partner then ran out of the front door and saw a "black smouldering section" to the bottom left of the back door.

She managed to put the fire out with water and noticed "a strong smell of petrol" before fleeing with the child to her mother's.

Police later found a black petrol can lying nearby and Muir was arrested.

Muir, of Erskine Place, Clackmannan, said to have an "extensive" record, pleaded guilty to wilful fire raising and threatening behaviour, both offences aggravated by abuse of his now-ex partner.

Claire McCarron, defending, said: "He is extremely remorseful."

Jailing Muir for 16 months, Sheriff Wyllie Robertson told him: "You have a very bad record over many years which shows no sign of abating.

"You have convictions for violence and disorder, some of which are domestically aggravated.

"The only appropriate disposal is custody."