Obsessive ex jailed for fire

A man who broke into his ex-partner's home and set fire to some curtains while her family was asleep has been jailed for 12 months.

Graeme Holding, 25, from Western Way in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, had previously bombarded his ex with texts and e-mails, even threatening to burn her family's home down.

On 9 February 2011, he broke into the home in Laburnam Road, Sandy and set light to some curtains as the family were asleep upstairs, Luton Crown Court was told on Monday 11 April.

But almost immediately he doused the flames with water and left the house stealing mobile phones and keys, said prosecutor, Beverely Cripps.

Holding pleaded guilty to burglary and arson and was jailed for 12 months.

Judge Michael Kay QC told him:"You have convictions for harassment in relation to a previous relationship which ended, which is a seriously aggravating feature. You have to learn that when a relationship ends you cannot take it out on the other person.

"On this occasion you went to the family home at night time and broke in and set fire to some curtains following a series of text messages in which you had threatened you would do this very thing.

"But there is evidence that you poured water on them to put out the fire."

The Judge also made a restraining order for five years banning Holding from contacting the victims or going to their home.

Beverly Cripps, prosecuting said Holding was arrested the same night after police rang one of the mobile phones he had stolen and he answered it in a drunken state. He had also left a hat and a can of lager at the scene of the crime.

Simon Shannon, defending said: "He has an inability to cope with the break down of relationships and turned to drink. He has set out his remorse and ambitions for the future in a letter to the court."

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