A Grantham man who carried out an arson attack outside his estranged partner’s home after she texted him saying she had a new man has been jailed for five years at Lincoln Crown Court.
Anthony Lacey drove to the woman’s home in Princess Drive, Grantham, and parked his van outside before setting fire to it.
Lacey, who had been drinking and had taken cocaine, earlier texted the woman with the message “ha ha burn burn”.
Grace Hale, prosecuting, said Lacey walked away from the property after starting the fire.
The flames reached within a couple of feet of his estranged partner’s front door leaving the woman and two children trapped inside.
A neighbour bravely tried to rescue them but the family had already contacted the emergency services and followed advice to stay inside the house until firefighters arrived.
They were then rescued and escaped unhurt. The van and the woman’s car, which was parked in her drive, were both badly damaged.
The court was told that Lacey had been in a long-term relationship with the woman but they were living apart at the time.
Lacey carried out the arson after receiving a text from the woman which said she had “sexual contact” with another man.
Lacey, 34, of Pickworth Close, Grantham, denied reckless arson on May 17 this year but was found guilty by a jury following a trial.
Alistair Munt, defending, said Lacey had clearly been influenced by an “inflammatory” text message sent to him by his former partner which appeared to be a deliberate attempt to wind him up and get him to call round to see her.
He said Lacey still loves the woman and had not pre-planned the arson.
Judge Michael Heath awarded £250 to be paid by the High Sheriff of Lincolnshire to neighbour Stephen Birch for his actions in attempting to rescue the people trapped inside the house.