A crazed man threatened to blow up his ex-wife’s home after turning on the gas and barricaded himself inside.
Tony Gath sparked a six-hour siege when he broke into his former family home, arming himself with knives and fixing the gas on continuous flow.
He threatened to stab police during the stand off and the street had to be cordoned off, with a school being evacuated.
Armed police, firefighters, gas engineers and a police negotiator were all called to the scene.
Mum of three Kirsty, 32, says: “It was horrific. I had to watch from the neighbour’s house whilst Tony waved knives at the kitchen window. He stabbed the walls and trashed the house.
“I didn’t want him jailed, because he is the father to my children. But I have to accept it’s over between us.”
The couple met on a night out 15 years ago, when Kirsty was just 16.
Kirsty says: “Tony was six years older and seemed really grown up.”
The couple went on to have three children, now aged 14, seven and six. They were married in 2011.
Kirsty, from Merseyside, says: “Ironically I thought having children with him would bring us together but the responsibility drove us apart.
“Tony actually suggested we should give our first baby to my mum to bring up because he found babies too demanding.
“I got a job and Tony didn’t work. I did everything with the kids, and he was so lazy.
“He never bothered with my birthday or Valentine’s Day. He always said flowers were a waste of money.
“I suspected he was cheating on me too. He even managed to make that seem like it was my fault. He said I didn’t make enough effort with my hair or my clothes.
“But despite everything, I absolutely adored him. And I wanted to make it work, for our children. I wanted them to have a proper family.
“He was never once violent towards me. But he was mentally abusive, telling me nobody would ever fancy me and that I was ugly. At the time, I didn’t see that as abuse. Only now, I can see how cruel he was.”
In summer 2018, they separated, after Kirsty discovered Tony was cheating. The couple remained friendly for the sake of their children.
Kirsty says: “He would only have the children if I paid him to do it. He was ruthless, but I gave in because I wanted them to see their dad.”
In February this year, he had arranged to have the children for the weekend. But when Kirsty arrived at his flat, after taking her children to school, she found him drunk.
She left to go shopping but he rang soon afterwards to tell her he was inside her home, with the gas on, and was planning to blow it up.
Kirsty says: “When he texted me to say he was going to blow the house up, I actually thought it was a joke at first.
“Then my neighbour rang to say Tony had broken into my house and was smashing it up and there was a strong smell of gas in the street.
“I was panic-stricken. I raced home and the entire street was cordoned off, there were police everywhere. We could see Tony through the window with two knives and he was screaming that he would blow the house up.”
He had also slashed the furniture and stabbed walls, leaving the house trashed.
Police negotiators arrived, the street and local schools and businesses were evacuated, and eventually, after a six hour siege, Tony gave himself up.
Kirsty says: “A negotiator arrived to talk to him. The engineers came to disconnect the gas and armed police were hidden in the bushes.
“It was so frightening. I didn’t care about the house itself. I was just worried about everyone’s safety.”
At 5.30pm, six hours on, Tony eventually gave himself up.
Tony Gath, 38, pleaded guilty in May to threatening to damage property and affray. Liverpool Crown Court heard he had an extensive criminal record.
Philip Astbury, defending, accepted it was “a frightening and disturbing incident”.
Judge Teague said Gath told police he had lost his kids and had nothing to lose, so they should stay back or he would stab them.
Jailing him for two and a half years, he said: “I’m afraid these offences are far, far too serious for anything except custody.”