A rapper from Wales has been jailed for almost 10 years for petrol-bombing a woman’s home after mistaking it for the house of his rival.
Michael Jordan Athernought, 25, from Tontine Street, Swansea, admitted committing arson with intent to endanger lives after throwing a homemade explosive at the door of a property on Clyndu Street, Morriston, at around 3am on 16 November.
Athernought, who raps under the name Ath, was targeting rapper Ricky Williams, also known as Chronic Official.
The pair had been in a long-running feud.
Instead, Athernought torched the home of Helen Davies and her teenage son, who was sleeping downstairs after breaking his leg.
They were woken to the sound of their fire alarm and people banging on the door.
Two neighbours, including one of Mr Williams’ brothers, heard glass shattering then the “whoosh” of the door catching fire, as well as seeing a man running away.
The neighbours managed to get Ms Davies and her son to safety and had mostly put out the fire by the time firefighters arrived.
A fire investigator later said that had the neighbours not acted so quickly, the flames could have enveloped the house.
Judge Paul Thomas QC called the rapper “pathetic” and “childish” during a hearing at Swansea Crown Court on Monday, describing him as someone who thinks of himself as a “pseudo-gangster”.
Just three days before the attack, Athernought posted a video directed at Mr Williams on YouTube, threatening to “burn your house to the ground”, adding: “War means war.”
Athernought, who appears topless in the clip wearing a gold cross on a chain, said he was drunk in the video, which had been viewed 71 times.
He took the video down after committing the offence.
Ian Wright QC, prosecuting, told the court that the dispute started when Athernought made negative comments about Mr Williams’ song on Facebook and in retaliation, Mr Williams posted a “diss track” about Athernought.
Attack was ‘pathetically childish’
South Wales Police arrested Athernought at his home shortly after the incident, where officers found a jerrycan of petrol and a towel torn into pieces.
In a statement to the court, Ms Davies said the incident impacted her mental health and caused her to want to leave the area.
Judge Thomas told Athernought: “You were involved in a feud with fellow rapper Ricky Williams arising out of comments he made about something you posted.
“A more pathetic, childish reason for acting as you did is frankly quite difficult to imagine.
“Instead of acting as a grown-up, you decided, because you think of yourself as some sort of pseudo-gangster, to make a video.
“And in that video, you made threats to burn his house down. It was as graphically threatening as it was pathetically childish.
“You followed through with your threats by going to what you thought was his house and setting fire to it using accelerants.
“In actual fact, due to your incompetence, you got the wrong house.”
The judge handed Athernought an extended sentence of nine years and nine months, telling him he would serve four years and six months in prison before being released on license for the remainder of the term.
He also ordered him to pay a surcharge on his release and imposed a 10-year restraining order.