Ex-boyfriend set woman’s house ablaze

Martin Clark set his ex-girlfriend's home on fire.
Martin Clark set his ex-girlfriend's home on fire.
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A man who set fire to his ex girlfriend’s house in a drunken revenge attack has been jailed for more than two years.

Martin Clark’s arson resulted in the victim losing more than £3,000 of property, and cost her landlord more than £14,000 in repairs and lost rent.

He also left kitchen taps on at the rented property in John Street, Cleveleys.

Clark, 25, lived across the road from his victim at the time of the attack in June.

He had pleaded guilty to a charge of arson.

Judge Ian Leeming QC, who sentenced him to 28 months in prison, told him: “This was a wicked act of revenge, of trying to get even at your disappointment”.

Preston Crown Court was told Clark had earlier had a short lived relationship with a woman.

Sue Carter, prosecuting, said the woman was living in a refuge as a result of alleged domestic violence from the defendant.

It was 11.30pm on June 26 that two males - one of them Clark - were seen acting suspiciously near the address.

A witness heard a smoke alarm and the men’s earlier behaviour led to the police being contacted.

Police arrived, but could not get in because of the smoke. Fire officers were called to the scene.

There were two seats of fire. One was a basket of clothes in an upstairs bedroom, the other a jacket hanging over a bedroom door.

Miss Carter said the whole of the first floor was smoke damaged. A smoke detector downstairs appeared to have been taken down.

“Had it remained undetected, the fire may have spread by roof timber into adjoining terraced properties,” she added.

“Police found kitchen taps had been left on and the sink was running over.

“The defendant was stood in the window of his home opposite and was laughing as the fire crew attended”.

Clark had sent text messages in which he had spoken about burning the woman’s house down. He had said: “I have nothing to lose. I want to see her house get smashed up.”

The woman put the loss of belongings at more than £3,000. This included a three piece suite and other furniture, clothes and toys.

She had not been able to afford home insurance.

The home was rented out by a housing association. Damage and loss of rent for them amounted to more than £14,000.

Clark’ s barrister, Chris Hudson, described what happened as “drunken revenge”.

“She has had some of his possessions. She, in his terms, rejected him.

“He is the sort of chap who doesn’t cope well with rejection.

“He went and set fire to items of her clothing, without comprehension of what might have resulted. He left the tap on downstairs.

“The consequences of this offence could have been disastrous for a number of innocent people”.

The judge made a five year restraining order, barring Clark from contacting the woman in any way, or approaching her over the next five years. His barrister said Clark had no intention of renewing contact with her.

Judge Leeming told Clark: “You reacted to the breakdown of the relationship in a totally inappropriate way, to say the least. This was a wicked act of revenge, of trying to get even at your disappointment.

“One of your problems, apart from drinking, is that you simply have no notion as to how partners or girlfriends of yours, or perhaps women in general, must be treated.

“You seemed to have thought, at least earlier, that she deserved it, which is appalling.”