1. ITV Report

Arsonist jailed for life after killing mother-in-law in Kent

Arsonist Simon Childs jailed Photo: Kent Police

An arsonist who targeted a West Malling home knowing a pensioner was inside has been sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder.

Simon Childs has been told he has to serve a minimum of thirty two years before he can be considered for parole.

Childs, aged 52, used petrol to start a fire which engulfed a property in Spitfire Road.

It resulted in the death of his mother-in-law, 65-year-old Jacqueline Allen.

He broke into the property and took fuel containers from a shed which were laden with petrol and started a fire in a shed, next to the kitchen.

Mrs Allen was inside and later died in hospital.

Another person also in the property, was found in the garden having jumped to safety from a first floor bedroom and suffered injuries including a fractured toe.

At the time of his arrest he had been subject to a number of conditions prohibiting him from attending the address in Spitfire Road, which had been imposed by a court following a previous conviction for assault against a former partner.

An investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate uncovered evidence that on the day of the fire Childs had threatened to set alight a caravan belonging to a man he suspected of having a relationship with the former partner.

He was also heard to make threats that he was going to ‘burn the house down’ and was responsible for dozens of abusive messages and phone calls, demanding to know of her whereabouts.

Simon Child’s actions were callous and calculated. He broke into the property knowing that Jacqueline Allen and another person were inside, before starting a devastating fire which spread rapidly with tragic consequences. Local residents bravely tried to rescue the occupants from the house, but the fire was just too intense. The sentence imposed is unlikely to lessen the grief caused by this senseless loss of life, but it will at least hopefully provide reassurances that Childs is now unable to cause further harm, and will be spending many years in prison.

– Detective Chief Inspector Patrick Milford
  • John Ryall was in court for sentencing. Click below to see the report.