Man set ex-partner’s Lincoln home on fire hours after her brother’s funeral

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A man carried out an arson attack on the family home of his estranged partner causing householders to be evacuated, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

John Stern turned up drunk at the house where his former partner Nicola Jude was living in East Liberty, Lincoln, just hours after attending the funeral of her brother who had been his best friend.

Gurdial Singh, prosecuting, said Stern argued with Ms Jude before self-harming with a shard of broken glass.

Mr Singh told the court: “She described him as going crazy and she told him she was going to call the police.

“She could hear him breaking things in the bedroom.

“He came downstairs and burst into the room and threw a paper bag at her that was on fire.

“He then left the premises and at some point afterwards the smoke alarm started going. A family member went to investigate and saw the bedroom was on fire.

“The bedroom was full of flames. A mattress had been set on fire.”

People in the house and an adjoining property evacuated and the fire brigade attended. The bedroom suffered substantial fire damage and most of the first floor was damaged by smoke.

Mr Singh said: “The bedroom had to be completely gutted. The damage was in excess of £10,700.

“The defendant was arrested. He was very drunk and had no recollection of the incident save for the argument.”

Stern, 30, of Clarendon Gardens, Lincoln, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered as a result of the incident on September 23, 2016. He was jailed for 30 months.

Judge Michael Heath told him: “The only sentence I can pass for arson being reckless to whether life was endangered in these circumstances is immediate custody.”

Sunil Khanna, in mitigation, said that Stern regarded Ms Jude’s brother as his best friend and had attended the funeral on the day previous to the arson.

Mr Khanna said: “He was a pall bearer and gave a speech at the funeral. Thereafter he drank to excess.

“He then went back to the family home where he and his partner argued. He has no recollection of what happened.”

He said that Stern had a good job as a butcher but lost his employment due to his health problems. He then sank into depression and began using heroin which led to the breakdown of his relationship with Ms Jude.