'Wicked' arsonist jailed for attack which destroyed 'all traces' of lost loved one
A "WICKED act of revenge" saw a 23-year-old burn a grieving woman's house down, just weeks after her partner died.
Caroline Gill said arsonist Alex Pye "obliterated all traces of him in one moment of madness" when the blaze destroyed all pictures and mementoes of her loved one.
Gloucester Crown Court heard Pye was believed to have started the fire which destroyed her four-bedroom home as her son owed him cash.
Prosecutor Julian Kesner said Pye broke into the garage, stealing motorcycle fairings and a metal detector before using white spirit he found to start the blaze on March 6 this year.
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He was jailed for six years and two months for the arson and burglary as well as a further 37 offences he asked to be taken into consideration.
Pye, of Severn Road in Dursley, said 15 of those offences were burglaries of homes. In a statement to police devastated Ms Gill, from Slimbridge, said: "It's like all trace of him have been obliterated in one moment of madness."
Judge Jamie Tabor QC told Pye: "It was an absolutely wicked act of revenge.
"You not only sought to destroy the house but all those pieces of mementoes, photographs and trinkets and the like.
"You did this knowing that the owner of the house had only recently lost her partner and was highly vulnerable.
"It was an act of revenge and one which was, regrettably, highly successful.
"I cannot remember an arson that was so deliberate and so nasty.
"You have been leading a criminal life for a very long time and you have been off the rails for a very long time."
Ms Gill had moved out of the home at the time after her partner, who was not named in court, died from a fall in the house six weeks earlier.
Pye had been drinking in the Tudor Arms pub, near to her home before he smashed the patio door to get in.
Mr Kesner said Pye left the white spirit in the fridge, which police found his fingerprints on, and dropped a mobile phone he had also stolen from the home.
He tried to get away on his bike, while carrying the stolen goods, before falling off in front of a passer-by, who not knowing about his crimes, gave him a lift back to Dursley.
He later told a friend, Rebecca Yates, he had burnt everything, including the pictures, and was running up and down the stairs while it was on fire.