Ex-wife admits torching home

PUBLISHED: 13:37 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:12 26 October 2009

A WOMAN set fire to an outbuilding at her home in frustration with her former husband, a court heard. Jacqueline Whiting, of WGC, destroyed personal possessions belonging to Tony Whiting and his son William.

A WOMAN set fire to an outbuilding at her home in frustration with her former husband, a court heard.

Jacqueline Whiting, of WGC, destroyed personal possessions belonging to Tony Whiting and his son William.

The 43-year-old also repeatedly scratched Mr Whiting's Mercedes car and ripped off the wing mirror, St Albans Crown Court was told today (Thursday).

Prosecutor Alexander Krikler said Mrs Whiting told the police: "I set fire to it in frustration because it was locked."

She said she was having difficulties at the time with her husband and his son. She went on: "I did it. I can't believe I did it."

The prosecutor said Tony Whiting claimed a loss of £2,915 in personal items plus £3,500 damage to his E-registered Merecedes car.

William Whiting was claiming a loss of £9,610 for the loss of a motocross bike, music and computer equipment.

Jacqueline Whiting, of Raymonds Plain, pleaded guilty to arson and causing criminal damage on October 13 last year.

She was of previous good character with no convictions or cautions.

Thomas Price, defending, said she was now selling her house because she was in a difficult financial position.

He said she disputed the amounts claimed for compensation from her husband and his son.

At the time she was suffering from "profound anxiety and emotional distress", the court was told.

Recorder Robert Glancy QC told her: "Arson is a very serious matter. You came very close to going to prison. Any repetition of this and you may find yourself not so lucky.

"I hope you have learned a lesson that however upset and frustrated you feel you cannot go around behaving as you did."

He sentenced her to nine months' jail suspended for two years, ordered her to complete 100 hours unpaid work and pay prosecution costs of £250.

The judge said he was not making a compensation order because "the values put forward are wholly unsubstantiated by the evidence."

Mr Whiting and his son will have to go to the civil courts to seek damages.

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