West Moors house fire: Phillip Evans jailed for arson

image copyrightKeith Smith
image captionFire crews from across east Dorset tackled the fire in January

An "emotionally unstable" man who started a fire which destroyed his ex-partner's house in a "revenge" attack has been jailed.

The blaze wrecked Emma Paul's home in West Moors, Dorset, on 9 January.

Phillip Evans, 55, had previously pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered.

He was jailed for six years and four months, with a three-year extended licence period because he poses a "danger to the public", the judge said.

image copyrightDorset Police
image captionJudge Stephen Climie said a psychiatrist confirmed Evans had an "emotionally unstable personality disorder"

At a previous hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court, Evans, of Ringwood Road, Three Legged Cross, also admitted breaching a restraining order. For this he was sentenced to 21 months, to run concurrently.

Ms Paul was not in the house in The Avenue at the time of the fire.

Evans broke in and locked himself inside before setting it alight in an attempt to take his own life, the defence said.

He later escaped from a window.

'Personality disorder'

Speaking in court, Ms Paul said Evans had been abusive during their relationship, had previously threatened to kill her and had followed her after their split in September 2017.

"My whole world and that of my family has been turned upside down," she said.

"I thank God I'm still alive."

She added she had lost everything in the blaze "except the clothes on my back".

Sentencing Evans, Judge Stephen Climie said a psychiatrist confirmed he had an "emotionally unstable personality disorder" and there "must have been an element of revenge or attack" when he torched Ms Paul's home.

The court heard Evans previously set fire to rubbish at the home of his estranged wife, Kathleen Evans, for which he became the subject of a restraining order.

Mrs Evans also told the court he had previously tried to take his own life.

image copyrightDorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue
image captionThe detached house was destroyed in the fire

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