A man created a six-meter long ‘line of fire’ outside his girlfriend’s house following an argument – whilst her four children slept inside.
Jake Cooper, 30, had been in a relationship with the woman for around two months when she suffered a miscarriage.
The loss led to a rift between them, which came to a head in July last year, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.
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On July 3, they had been out for a meal before going to the pub, buying some alcohol and returning to her house near Old Trafford.
David Povall, prosecuting, said: “When she went to put the children to bed, she heard him call out that he was going to go out.
“This caused some friction and she messaged him, challenging him about it, suggesting that he didn’t seem to want to spend time with her. He then made a comment saying that he wanted to speak to family and left the house.”
Later that evening, at around 9.30pm, the woman heard banging on her front door, and found that Cooper, of Trafford, was outside and had cut himself, the court heard.
He appeared to be drunk and was unsteady on his feet.
Cooper seemed to leave, but the woman was then made aware by a neighbor that there was a fire outside her house.
“The neighbor was shouting: ‘There are children in there!'”, Mr Povall continued.
“She was able to see that outside her front door, there was a line of fire leading up to the path of her front door, about six meters long. One of the neighbors saw the defendant pouring liquid outside the house and setting fire to it.
“Clumsily, in the course of doing so, his own shirt caught fire and he had to take it off.”
The woman was able to extinguish the fire with a coat, the court heard.
It was understood that Cooper had used a black petrol canister, which was found outside the woman’s house, as an accelerator.
In a victim personal statement, she said she was left in ‘shock’ and described being concerned for her four children, and has since struggled with anxiety.
Cooper was said to have eight previous convictions for 11 offences, which were described by the prosecutor as ‘impulsive lashing out in incidents of frustration’.
Mitigating, Michael Lavery, said his client had suffered with mental health issues following unsolved issues from his childhood.
He said that finding out his child had passed away created the ‘perfect storm’ for the incident.
“This incident was totally out of character,” Mr Lavery said. “Since his remand in custody, he has found himself developing in a way which has helped him.
“He has undertaken a number of courses and has been working seven days a week. He says for the first time in a long time, he is taking control of his mental health.”
Sentencing, Judge John Potter said: “That was, for whatever reason you had for doing it, a very dangerous thing to have done.
“Not just because it could have brought harm to yourself, but it could have caused serious harm both to her and those four children behind that front door.
“Setting a fire with the use of accelerant is so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate.”
Cooper, of Chester Road, was jailed for 33 months after pleading guilty to Arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
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