Man found guilty after setting fire to former model

The case against Stewart John Watson was heard at the High Court in Livingston. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The case against Stewart John Watson was heard at the High Court in Livingston. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

A man has been convicted of showering a woman with lighter fluid and setting fire to her.

A jury took just over an hour to return a majority verdict finding 36-year-old Stewart John Watson guilty of attempted murder.

He had denied throwing flaming liquid at former model Anne Crossan on the doorstep of her home in the West Lothian village of Polbeth on 4 September last year.

Judge Lord Bannatyne called for background reports on Watson, who is known as “Wad”.

The accused has been in 
custody since his arrest the day after the crime.

The High Court at Livingston was told that Miss Crossan, 47, suffered burns to her scalp, face, neck and right hand which have left her with ugly scars.

Medics at St John’s Hospital in Livingston put her on life support in an induced coma for two weeks to help her injuries to heal.

Once she was brought out of the coma she had to relearn how to walk and talk and 
she is still undergoing treatment for the physical and psychological scarring she suffered.

Outside court, Miss Crossan said she was delighted at the guilty verdict.

She said: “I’m glad it’s all over and I hope he will have to serve a very long prison sentence for what he did to me.

“My vocal chords were paralysed and I had to learn how to walk and talk again. I had to use a Zimmer to move around because I had no power in my legs.

“It’s been an absolute nightmare.”

In his closing speech, advocate depute Adrian Cottam reminded jurors of the 999 call made by Miss Crossan after the attack.

They were played a recording in which she tells the call handler: “I’ve just been attacked by Wad. He just threw petrol about me with a lighter. He said: ‘F*** you, ya bitch.’”

Mr Cottam said she had had no time to make up a story and had given clear and compelling evidence that she had heard Watson saying his name before she opened her door to him.

After the attack, she said the accused just turned and walked away, leaving her screaming in agony.

Mr Cottam said the accused had a motive because of a fall-out between him, Miss Crossan and his former girlfriend Sharon Christie.