Man accused of trying to burn Waterlooville psychologist to death tells court he planned to set himself on fire previously
A MAN accused of attempting to murder his former partner by setting her on fire in his car told a court he had planned to burn himself to death on a previous occasion.
On trial Gary Travers, 43, has given evidence at Portsmouth Crown Court to defend himself against accusations he tried to kill Waterlooville psychologist Dr Georgina Ingall after she ended the relationship.
Travers allegedly launched two litres of petrol over the ‘terrified’ woman in his Audi TT while trying to spark a lighter as he attempted to kill the pair of them at the White Hart pub car park on Hambledon Road, Denmead, on Christmas Eve last year.
Dressed in a suit, Travers told socially-distanced jurors of his mounting problems and suicidal thoughts during the build up to the event.
Questioned by defence counsel Richard Onslow over an attempt to kill himself in November 2017 - five months after the separation from his wife - Travers said: ‘I had it in my mind to end my life.
‘I was going to pour petrol on myself and spark a lighter. I had a can of fuel in the car. I was going to drive to a spot.’
The defendant, though, confirmed he was stopped by police - preventing him carrying out the suicide.
With his marriage in tatters, diabetic Travers’ misery was further compounded when his car sales company plunged into near £100,000 debt after his business partner suddenly pulled out.
It left Travers owing money to a number of sources including Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, resulting in the defendant heading into a deepening ‘spiral’.
He said: ‘I would play happy and have a smile on my face and be the life and soul of the party but inside I was panicking all the time.’
Speaking of his relationship with Dr Ingall, who he moved in with at her Waterlooville address, Travers said he became increasingly marginalised in the relationship after her son moved in with her.
‘I felt more disconnected,’ Travers said. ‘It was starting to fizzle out - she had less time for me. The feeling of being in a relationship wasn’t there.’
But despite discovering a cocaine wrapper and asking Travers to move out of her house, the 47-year-old said she was still keen to have a relationship but living apart.
For Travers, though, it was ‘another blow’ on top of everything else. ‘I was getting HMRC letters, I was in debt, had diabetes and started getting excruciating pain in my leg,’ he said.
He added: ‘I knew the relationship was coming to an end.’
Travers told the court he had ‘still loved’ Dr Ingall and did not want the relationship to end.
Questions over the passenger door of Travers’ Audi TT - which Dr Ingall had ‘hammered’ to escape after she claimed it was not working - prompted the defendant to reveal there were issues with it.
‘You had to slam the passenger door sometimes (from the inside),’ he said. ‘You would go to shut it and it would bounce.’
Travers told jurors he was a qualified mechanic who was able to carry out some repairs to cars.
Asked why he didn’t resolve the door issue or take it to a garage, he said: ‘It only happened once in a while. I didn’t think it was a huge concern.’
The defendant’s former wife Helen Travers also told jurors she had noticed a problem with the passenger door before they separated. ‘It could be a bit sticky,’ she said.
Travers, of no fixed address, denies attempted murder, making threats to kill and false imprisonment.