Home torched after break-up

A MAN stalked his ex-partner and burnt her house down after a disturbing relationship breakdown.

The 49-year-old man sent the woman a series of abusive text messages threatening her and her children's lives.

On March 21 last year the man sent her a message saying "Just for you, one of your kids are going to die tonight ... mark my word".

At 6.45pm neighbours saw the man go to the woman's Bundamba house, but she was not home and was staying with friends.

At 7.06pm the man sent her a message saying "A man's got to do what a man's got to do".

The fire broke out after the man used a petrol-soaked rag to light a cigarette and dropped it on the floor of the home.

Police and firefighters were called at 7.45pm but the house was well alight and sustained extensive damage.

The woman didn't know her house had been burnt until she went to the police the day after to report the threatening texts.

Ipswich District Court was told the cost of the damage was $114,500 and the woman lost $20,000 worth of possessions.

On Monday the man pleaded guilty to arson and unlawful stalking and was sentenced to four years prison.

With time already served, and because of his plea of guilty, he will be eligible to apply for parole on April 12. Judge Sarah Bradley was satisfied the man did not intend to burn the house down but it was a result of his careless actions.

A victim impact statement written by the woman said the destruction of her house had a profound impact on her. Defence barrister Geoff Seaholme said most of the man's problems stemmed from alcohol abuse.

Mr Seaholme said his client knew no one was at home at the time and there was no suggestion he had intended to hurt anyone.

Mr Seaholme said the man had a tragic past which included losing the mother of his two children when they were very young.

The man will not be allowed to contact the woman for five years.

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