Mold Crown Court
The man blamed Google for attempting to start the fire at the wrong property. Google

A rapist has been convicted of arson after attempting to start a blaze at the wrong property.

Richard Pentreath, 64, of Cheltenham, tried to start a blaze at the home of his rape victim, who had given evidence in a trial against him. But after he had started it, he realised it was the wrong house.

The defendant had admitted reckless arson and denied doing it with the intent to endanger life, but was convicted by the jury and attempting to take revenge on a witness.

According to the Daily Post, prosecuting barrister Anna Price said Pentreath could only have intended the victim harm when he poured an accelerant through the letter box of a house in a North Wales seaside town.

However, he had got the wrong address.

Pentreath was said to have travelled to North Wales after hearing the address of the rape victim in court during the earlier trial at Woolwich in London.

Inside the house was the mother of a four-year-old child, who was woken by a sound from downstairs and saw an object coming through her letter box.

The floor was wet and outside she came face to face with the defendant, who picked up a piece of wood and walked away.

Accelerant had been used and there was fire damage inside the door, the court heard.

Miss Price said a paraffin bottle had been found bearing Pentreath's DNA.

The defendant admitted the incident but claimed that he did not intend to harm or kill the rape victim, adding that he simply wanted to scare her "into telling the truth".

When he realised he had got the wrong address, he said: "It was the wrong lady. Don't rely on Google maps."

Pentreath received a unanimous guilty verdict at Mold Crown Court on Tuesday 23 May, with Judge Niclas Parry remanding him in custody and ordering a psychiatric report.

He will be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court at a date to be fixed for Tuesday's convictions and for earlier convictions for rape and indecent assault.

Duncan Bould, defending, argued that the jury could not be sure he intended to hurt her.

He denied making threats to her, denied hunting for her and trying to track her down abroad.

His visits abroad had been innocent because he would travel as part of his work as a professional chess player where he would also sell books on the game.

In evidence, Pentreath denied that he had ever threatening to kill her as well as denying claims that he had attended at the property previously to plan the arson attack.