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Home ยป Man Murdered Wife By Dousing Her In Petrol And Setting Her Alight

Man Murdered Wife By Dousing Her In Petrol And Setting Her Alight

A husband brutally murdered his wife by dousing her in petrol and setting her alight while she sat in her car.

Thomas Rainey, 61, threw a bucket of petrol over mother-of-six Katrina Rainey and set fire to her as she prepared to leave for work.

The 53-year-old, who suffered burns to 90% of her body in the “horrific” attack, initially survived.

Mrs Rainey was treated at the scene by her children – who attempted to cover her with wet towels.

She survived long enough to tell police about the nature of the attack, which she claimed was an act of revenge by her husband because of their pending divorce.

Mrs Rainey later died in hospital of her injuries.

Thomas Rainey, of Knockloughrim, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to her murder.

He must serve a minimum of 18 years in prison before being eligible for release.

Mr Justice O’Hara, who delivered the sentence at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday, said “given the horror of what he did to his wife it is the least he deserves”.

The court heard the incident took place at the family home in October 2021.

Mrs Rainey was leaving for work and Rainey opened her car door, covered her with petrol and then set her on fire.

She was unable to get out of the car due to her seatbelt being fastened, so instead kept “hitting the horn and screaming”.

Despite her serious burns, Mrs Rainey was able to relay details of the attack to the emergency services, some of which was captured on police bodycam.

She told police that she had been to see a solicitor and that she believed the attack was her husband’s retaliation to the pending divorce.

She was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where she later died of her injuries.

Rainey initially denied being the attacker, and the court heard that he suggested “in some oblique way” that the fire may have been Mrs Rainey’s “own fault” for “keeping petrol in the car”.

The court heard that, after his arrest, Rainey took part in a mental health assessment, which found he was suffering from a moderate depressive disorder.

The judge was also told that the couple’s six-year-old daughter had died in an accident on their farm a number of years ago, which Rainey felt some level of personal responsibility for.

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However, the court ruled the disorder was not so severe as to prevent him from exercising self-control or understanding his actions.

Speaking outside Belfast Crown Court following the sentencing, Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) Detective Inspector Hazel Miller said Mrs Rainey died a “horrific death”.

She said Mrs Rainey was a “caring and loving mother”, and that her children and wider family circle had experienced “unimaginable grief and anguish”.

“They are still trying to come to terms with losing their loved one in such horrific circumstances,” she said.

“While the sentencing signifies the end of the judicial process, I know that Katrina’s family will be walking away with the heaviest of hearts. My thoughts remain firmly with them,” she added.