Stalker set fire to campervan in Gloucestershire village as woman slept inside

Kenneth Jones went to a petrol station and filled up a two litre soft drink bottle with fuel before setting the camper van alight. Credit: Gloucestershire Constabulary

A man stalked his ex-partner and then set fire to a campervan while she was asleep inside it with her new partner.

Kenneth Jones was jailed for 11 years and six months on Wednesday (17 August).

The 64-year-old was also given a life-long restraining order stating he cannot contact the victims directly or indirectly and he has been banned from entering Cheltenham and Alderton.

In February this year, he travelled from his home in Dames Road in London, hired a car in Cheltenham and then went to a petrol station and filled up a two litre soft drink bottle with fuel.

Jones then drove to the village of Alderton near Tewkesbury and set the campervan alight at around midnight on 18 February.

A neighbour, who was awake and trying to settle their baby, spotted the flames and quickly alerted the couple, who had been asleep inside.

Gloucester Crown Court heard how Jones had stalked the victim, who he had previously been in a relationship with, in the lead-up to the arson.

Detectives traced his previous journeys which showed Jones had travelled into the county on several occasions and repeatedly damaged his ex-partner's car.

His actions caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the campervan and other vehicles.

Jones had driven from his home in London to carry out the attack on his ex-partner Credit: Gloucestershire Police

Jones was subsequently charged with stalking involving fear of violence, several counts of criminal damage, and arson with intent to endanger life.

He had admitted arson but denied it was with the intent to endanger life. Jones went on trial at Gloucester Crown Court and was found guilty by a jury. He admitted the other offences.

DC Allun Johnson said: "It is a miracle no one was either seriously injured or killed due to Jones' atrocious actions.

"His unacceptable behaviour escalated from damaging the victim's car on multiple occasions, turning up unannounced at her address, stalking her in his vehicle and culminated in him endangering both her and her partner's lives.

"Stalking is not flattering - it's unwanted and unwarranted behaviour that causes fear and these actions can have a devastating impact.

"Jones decided to use a hire car that night and thought he could get away with what he did. However, we were able to show his stalking behaviour where he followed her in his car prior to the arson, which the victim hadn't known had been happening.

"I would like to thank the victims who have been incredibly strong and brave and worked with us throughout our investigation. Thanks must also go to the quick-thinking neighbour, whose actions likely saved lives that day."

Temp Det Supt Richard Pegler, domestic abuse lead, said: "This was a high-quality investigation which has prevented further serious harm to the victims, and which has been reflected in the sentence.

"DC Johnson and his team have worked tirelessly to pursue this dangerous man, and let this be a warning to any man who thinks he has the right to stalk and control their partner or ex-partner."