The blaze killed their family dog
The family narrowly escaped the fire on 13 June, which destroyed their Maryport home and killed the family dog.
Stephen Light, 49, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court and was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years behind bars.
Why he torched the home
His ex-partner said: ‘I am absolutely devastated that he could do this to me and my family. We all could have died.’
After a disagreement with Sonia Norris, the court heard Light ignited petrol from jerry cans and started a fire that spread across the former Netherton vicarage at Church Terrace.
Ms Norris was woken up by one of her children, then alerted everyone else by screaming ‘get out of the house’.
One, a teenager, was in the shower when his girlfriend exclaimed: ‘Steve’s lit the house on fire!’
As they fled, Ms Norris tried to tackle the blaze with water. Then she spotted Light, whom she said was going back in to the burning building for the dog. Light was also seen outside later wearing only his boxer shorts.
Victim impact statement
Ms Norris said in a statement: ‘We have lost everything… the house is uninhabitable and [everything is] burnt. We have the clothing we stand up in and that is it.’
The house was gutted by the fire and is likely to be demolished.
Prosecutor David Polglase said: ‘[Several] people were endangered.’
Trainee Det Con Alex Chalker said ‘Light’s account of what happened that evening was [inconsistent] and changed [between] the scene and [his] interview later.’
When the police arrived at the scene Light claimed to have woken up to find the house already on fire.
However in a later police interview he claimed to have accidently kicked a jerry can, which knocked over a candle and caused the blaze.
Police said his claims were not plausible – particularly after a sniffer dog and specialised equipment identified three areas in the living room and two in the dining room that had been doused with an accelerant.
Is he suffering from a health condition?
The court heard that Light, formerly of Church Terrace, Maryport, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2018, after serving in the navy and police force.