Kent

West Malling house fire murder: Son-in-law jailed for life

Simon Childs Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Simon Childs was described in court as a "jealous and obsessive man"
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A man who set fire to the family home and killed his mother-in-law has been jailed for at least 31 years.

Simon Childs, 52, was jailed for life at Maidstone Crown Court.

He was convicted of murdering 65-year-old Jackie Allen and attempting to murder another person injured in the blaze in Spitfire Road, West Malling, Kent.

Childs, of Hurricane Road, was described as "jealous and obsessive" after his marriage break-up.

Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Jackie Allen died in the blaze in West Malling in November

The court heard his estranged wife was not at the house at the time of the fire on 17 November.

Det Ch Insp Patrick Milford, from Kent Police, said, on the day of the fire, Childs threatened to set alight a caravan belonging to a man he suspected was having a relationship with her.

He said Childs also made threats to "burn the house down" and was responsible for dozens of abusive messages and phone calls demanding to know her whereabouts.

He said he used petrol to start the fire, which engulfed the property.

"Simon Child's actions were callous and calculated," Det Ch Insp Milford said.

"He broke into the property knowing that Jacqueline Allen and another person were inside, before starting a devastating fire."

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