A man from Newcastle has been has been jailed after setting fire to his girlfriend's property while children were inside.
William Wilkinson, from Benwell, had been drinking heavily when he caused damage at his girlfriend's home before setting fire to a brick shed, just a metre from the house.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the flames reached the exterior wall of the house, melting window frames and pipes. A 17-year-old ran into the house to get a younger child and one of the family's dogs out.
In June 2021 Wilkinson was at his then-partner's home and spent the day drinking, downing a bottle of gin and a bottle of wine while she was at work.
After she returned at around 6pm, she asked him to pack his bags and leave but he became angry and smashed a stereo speaker and TV.
Wilkinson threatened to assault her, before going into the back yard and starting to smash plant pots.
He then set fire to a brick shed which was just a metre from the house.
Neil Jones, prosecuting, said: "The fire in the shed was intense and reached the exterior wall of the house, melting the window frames and plastic pipes.
"The complainant was standing across the road watching the flames rising from the shed roof getting bigger and closer to the house."
Firefighters arrived before any further damage could be caused to the house.
The woman said: "I can't believe he has done this, he has set fire to my house with my son inside and put our lives in danger. He could have killed us."
The cost of repairs to Northumberland County Council, which owns the house, was £5,906.
Wilkinson, 35, of Ellesmere Road, Benwell, Newcastle, who has 32 previous convictions, including 16 for criminal damage, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and criminal damage.
He was jailed for 50 months and given a five-year restraining order.
Recorder Edward Legard told him: "There is no doubt this must have been a most frightening, traumatic and distressing experience for her and her two older children."
Andrew Walker, mitigating, said Wilkinson has never been to prison before and is ashamed and remorseful.
He added that his "problems with alcohol consumption" have led to him offending and he is "not a particularly well man".
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