Gordon Govenlock gas can

In a bizarre series of events, Gordon Govenlock is charged with trying to light his neighbours on fire while they slept. (Alberta Justice)

An Edmonton man is on trial this week for allegedly dousing his sleeping neighbours with gasoline and threatening to set them on fire.

Gordon Govenlock is charged with arson, break and enter, and throwing an explosive substance with intent to cause bodily harm.

Govenlock lived next to Derek Burrell and Catherine Burke in a townhouse complex in north Edmonton.

Court was told that on May 11, 2013, Govenlock and Burrell were drinking heavily in Govenlock’s kitchen.

Burke, Burrell's girlfriend, was angry about an offensive comment Govenlock made about her. She asked Burrell to tell their neighbour to stay away from their home.  

Burrell did that and said that Govenlock was surprised to hear Burke's request. .

Things started to take a bizarre turn in the hours that followed.

The couple's front door was shot out with pellets from a BB gun in the middle of the night. 

Then Burrell woke the next morning to gas being being splashed on his face and neck.

He looked up to see Govenlock standing over the bed holding a propane torch in one hand and a pop bottle filled with gasoline in the other. 

“He was screaming something about tires being slashed,” Burrell told the judge. “There was lots of commotion going on.”

Burrell said Govenlock then dropped the bottle and lit the propane torch.

Burke called 911. When she shouted that police were on the way. Burrell said that Govenlock yelled back: “You’ll be dead before they get here.”

Govenlock then picked up the bottle and ran out of the house, Burrell said.

The couple’s twin baby girls were asleep in the next room.

Govenlock was arrested outside his townhouse that same morning. Court was told  he was “highly agitated” and yelling and trying to pull away from police.

The trial is expected to wrap up Thursday.