Wirral man drives car into British Legion after partner's death dispute

A MAN deliberately smashed his car into a British Legion club and tried to douse it with petrol after wrongly believing its members were responsible for his partner’s death.

Today, the ECHO can reveal the bizarre chain of events that led to Peter Daly ramming his Audi into the building in Pensby Road, Heswall.

The 56-year-old is believed to have dogged the club for years after a dispute with the committee.

Daly became furious after the club stopped his partner Gill Weston, who had emphysema, smoking while carrying an oxygen bag.

Years later, she died from her illness and Mr Daly blamed the British Legion for her death.

Following a spate of minor attacks at the club, Mr Daly was banned from every British Legion club in the UK.

Today, members at the Heswall British Legion club lifted the lid on a spate of vandalism suffered by the club.

They allege Daly was responsible for a series of pranks designed to try and upset the running of the premises.

Damage suffered by the club in the months running up to the incident including a broken gas pipe, the rope being cut on the Legion flagpole and stones being smashed in the club’s memorial garden.

At around 8am, on June 29, Daly reversed his car through the doors of the British Legion building into the foyer.

He was seen pouring petrol from a green plastic cannister and then lighting it before walking away.

Daly, of Bentway, Heswall, was arrested by police as he walked away.

Yesterday, he appeared at Liverpool crown court where a judge ordered he be detained in a hospital under the Mental Health Act

John Allenby, assistant secretary of the Heswall club, told the ECHO: “Peter drove his car into the front porch and demolished it.

“He got out with a can of petrol, and the cleaners who had heard the crash came running out.

“They were screaming, ‘let us out, let us out!’, and then they watched him sprinkle petrol about.

“Peter had alleged the Legion had killed his partner which was a ridiculous statement.

“Despite this sentencing , it is worrying for the club in case he comes back and does it again.”

Julie Cowin, secretary of the Heswall British Legion, said they could not allow Ms Weston to smoke inside with an oxygen bag for obvious safety reasons.

She said: “Peter just flipped and we weren’t allowed to go to Gill’s funeral which we were upset about because we really liked her.”

Daly, together with his partner, had given 50 years service to the Legion, the court heard.

Daly admitted criminal damage and attempting to commit arson.

John Weate, defending, said: "Mr Daly is a man of hitherto good character that society would and should be proud of. It is a very sad position he finds himself.”

Judge Robert Warnock told Daly: “I am certain you are suffering from a mental health disorder. It is my earnest hope that the treatment you will receive will enable you to return to the community as soon as possible.”

By the time he was produced in court he had already spent a total of 400 days on remand.