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By Andy Dolan
Last updated at 1:01 AM on 22nd May 2009
Her world destroyed by an unfaithful husband, Deborah Jackson was bent on revenge.
A deal giving her a major slice of the proceeds of the sale of their home failed to dull the pain.
She was determined that her husband Kurt should get nothing – so she set the £210,000 detached house on fire hours before the sale was to be completed.
The blaze reduced its value so much that both were left with nothing from their 20-year relationship.
The break-up was caused by 38-year-old Mr Jackson’s two-year affair with a neighbour, Leicester Crown Court heard. He moved out and Jackson, 45, a hairdresser, stayed in the marital home with their 17-year-old son.
The couple agreed to sell the house to clear their debts. As their son’s carer, Jackson was to take more than twice as much as her husband from the sale.
But before the sale went through Jackson agreed to take her husband back. They would move into rented accommodation and try to patch up the marriage, the court heard.
However the night before contracts were due to be exchanged on the house sale last August, she learned he was out with another woman.
The next morning Jackson, who was on anti-depressants, doused the inside of the house in petrol and set it ablaze, before going to her mother’s home where she was later arrested.
She told police: ‘It’s all because of my husband and what he’s done to me. I didn’t want him to get a penny. This is what I’ve been driven to.’
The fire-gutted home in Oakham, Rutland, eventually sold for £95,000 – enough to cover the mortgage and loans but with nothing left over.
Jackson admitted arson.
Gareth Weetman, defending, said two years of emotional turmoil had led a ‘straightforward, honest, hardworking’ woman to her act of revenge.
He said their son had described the last two years as being ‘very bad due to his dad being out of work and having an affair’.
James Varley, prosecuting, said Mr Jackson had said in a victim impact report that ‘deep down I wouldn’t want her to go to prison, but she obviously needs help’.
Jackson, who now lives with her son in Manton, near Stamford, Lincolnshire, was given a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 18 months of supervision.
Recorder Nicholas Syfret QC told the hearing on Tuesday she had ‘effectively punished herself by the consequences of what she’s done.’
He said he had taken account of the ‘very unusual circumstances’, adding: ‘A breakdown of a long relationship led to the breakdown of Jackson’s mental wellbeing.’
The couple are now divorcing.
There was no sign of Mrs Jackson at her new home yesterday. Her husband is said to be living in a caravan.
A friend said: ‘Everything Kurt had was in that house. We couldn’t believe Deborah could do this.’