A “callous” Mansfield man who started a fire at the home of his estranged wife’s new partner while were asleep upstairs has been jailed for five years and three months.
Shane Clarke, 32, was convicted of arson recklessly endangering lives when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court.
The court heard that a neighbour of the victims ran to the smoke-logged house on Bonnington Road at about 4.40am on December 10, 2016.
The door was engulfed in flames and the neighbour banged on the windows to wake them up. He threw water on the door, using a lunch box, to try to put the fire out.
The occupants managed to call 999 and get out of the house and they joined their neighbour in throwing water on the door until the fire was extinguished.
Clarke, formerly of Brick Kiln Lane, Mansfield, was arrested later that morning and his mobile phone was seized by police.
After examining the phone detectives were able to establish it was 220 metres away from the Bonnington Road address at 3.30am that morning. Further evidence taken from the phone included Facebook messages, pictures and texts.
Clarke was found guilty of arson recklessly endangering lives when he appeared in court on Friday (July 14).
In summing up, the judge also commended the neighbour for their actions on the day.
Speaking after Clarke’s sentencing Detective Constable Glenn Finbow, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Clarke could not let go of the fact that his estranged wife had moved on.
“He was callous in his actions and gave no thought to the outcome of what he’d done and what injuries both victims would have received. At no time did he even try to warn the victims of the fire he’d set.
“The actions of the neighbour are to be commended as if it was not for them this could have been a far more serious offence that we would be looking at.
“If the neighbour hadn’t got out of bed when they did, seen the blaze at the front door of the house and put it out there would be a distinct possibility that the injuries sustained by both victims would have been more severe. Indeed both could have died.”