Millionaire Sets Fire to His Own Home Just to Spite His Wife

British millionaire and pro golfer Francis McGuirk narrowly avoided jail time for reportedly setting fire to his family home just so his wife couldn’t have it following their breakup.

In a trial that recently ended and saw Francis McGuirk barely avoiding prison time, the 50-year-old golf pro was accused of setting fire to the £900,000 ($1.4 million) house in Sandwich, Kent last year, just to spite his life partner. On June 25 last year, knowing that there was no one home, the father-of-three entered the house he owned with his soon-to-be-ex-wife Sarah, locked himself inside, and snapped the keys inside the locks before texting his partner to let her know that he was about to set the place on fire. He proceeded to do just that, and it was only thanks to the neighbors calling emergency services that the house suffered only minor damage.

Photo: Benjamin Kerensa/Unsplash

“Sarah was at a dinner party on the night of the incident. Knowing the address would be empty, the defendant let himself in,” Prosecutor Caroline Knight told the court. “He locked the doors before snapping the keys in the locks from the inside. He first tried to start a fire using some cooking oil, which didn’t take, so he then set fire to some cushions in the living room using lighter fluid.”

The millionaire golfer reportedly sent his wife messages from inside the house, telling her that he was going to “burn the house to the ground”, and assuring that he would “probably throw Dolly (the family dog) out of the window in a minute so that’s all good”.

When firefighters called by worried neighbors pulled up to the burning house, they found Francis McGuirk outside acting bizarrely. He refused treatment for his minor burns and appeared to want to go back inside to rescue the family dog. One of the first responders later testified that McGuirk told him that he had set the house on fire because he “didn’t want the b***h to have everything”.

The seafront property in Sandwich suffered significant damage, with most of the rooms being covered in soot, but firefighters managed to stop the flames before they engulfed the whole place and also managed to save Dolly, the family dog.

Although the judge was convinced that McGuirk set the family house on fire out of spite, thus causing his entire family a lot of distress, he also considered the defense’s claim that the 50-year-old man had intended to take his own life on the night of the incident. Thus, he spared the millionaire, awarding him a suspended two-year sentence, but also warned him that any offense during this period would almost certainly land him in prison.

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