“WE didn’t feel our family home was a safe place,” a woman has told a courtroom after her ex-partner allegedly set fire to her car in West Oxfordshire.

Gary Smith is on trial at Oxford Crown Court accused of setting fire to an Audi A1 in Chipping Norton on August 27, 2021.

The 35-year-old also faces several other charges including criminal damage, stalking and failing to attend court/police bail, all of which he denies.

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His ex-partner, Sally Dodman-Edwards, gave evidence against Smith, of Cotswold Crescent, Chipping Norton, in court on Tuesday (January 16), telling the jury he made her family home feel ‘unsafe’ and that she had to change her email and phone numbers.

The pair met on a dating app and had a short relationship between April and August 2021.

Ms Dodman-Edwards stated that Smith was a ‘bad drunk’ and on one occasion allegedly smashed her car windows and slashed her tyres being setting the vehicle on fire.

She told the jury she was ‘hiding in a hedge’ while it happened. The relationship soon ended but it is then alleged that Smith sent police to her home on false pretences.

“There were two occasions,” she said. “One I remember very specially. I have a dog at home and he was acting very strange…and we came downstairs and police were surrounding the house.

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“We invited them in and they said they an anonymous call saying someone had driven in my car the night before with drugs and that drugs were in the house.

“I said they could search the house, we had nothing to hide.”

On another occasion, Ms Dodman-Edwards said police were called to her house after she was accused of illegally keeping firearms.

“It had a massive impact on my wellbeing,” she said.

“I did not feel secure in my own home, I was worried for my children, particularly daughter.

“I sent her and my dog away because I didn’t want them in them in the house in case anything happened.

“The effects it’s had on me and my family…I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through.”

Voicemails left of Ms Dodman-Edwards were played to the jury, allegedly from Smith, which included a man’s voice saying: “Let me be very f****** clear, right, you’re making serious allegations against me for reasons I don’t know.

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“You deliberately drove your car off the f****** road with me sat in it. You’re a f***** liar. You were sectioned because you’re a f****** mental patient.

“Stop with the b*******. There are very serious allegations.”

The trial continues.