You think she would have called the police after he tried light the car and HER on fire.

Man charged with attempted arson after fight

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(view as multiple pages)By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

BEVERLY A couple's breakup turned violent, and could have turned deadly, yesterday after a Beverly man poured lighter fluid and paint around his apartment and then on the car of a friend, police say.

Patrick Parsons, 37, of 62 Water St. is being held on $500 cash bail, charged with attempted arson and domestic assault and battery. He has pleaded not guilty.

At around 12:30 a.m., police were driving on Water Street when they came across a group of people who appeared to be arguing. Police noticed that Parsons, who was yelling, smelled of alcohol and was covered with scratches.

A neighbor and a friend of Parsons' girlfriend told police that Parsons had been drinking all day and had come back to the apartment and begun arguing.

His girlfriend told police that he had first poured lighter fluid on her friend's car and tried to ignite a sleeping bag inside the car. When she tried to stop him, he poured lighter fluid on her.

Then he shoved her and ran into the house, where he threw a gallon of paint and then more lighter fluid on the floor of the apartment.

"He threatened to burn up her car and her belongings," according to a police report filed by Patrolmen Darlene Prinz and Richard Russo.

As the woman related her story to police, Parsons, who was placed in the back of a police cruiser, was continuing to yell.

Prosecutor Ashlee Logan called the facts of the case "disturbing and egregious."

Parsons' lawyer, Sean Wynne, said yesterday that his client had no history of abuse something his girlfriend confirmed during a restraining order hearing in front of the same judge.

She told the judge they had been together eight years and have a 4-year-old son, but that two days before the incident she told him the relationship was over and moved in with a man living downstairs.

Parsons, who has a bachelor's degree in music and works as a heating and cooling technician, has a serious drinking problem, Wynne said, and wants to get treatment.

But that will have to wait until he can make the $500 bail set by Judge Richard Mori and until he can resolve another pending case in Ipswich District Court, where he was charged with disorderly conduct in an unrelated case.

Staff reporter Jill Harmacinski contributed to this story