A BITTER wife who torched her £400,000 family home to spite her husband of 27 years during their divorce has been jailed for almost three years.

Mum-of-three Janette Higginson, 57, rang police herself to say their marital semi-detached property in Firswood, Manchester was ablaze.

She told cops at the time of the fire: ''I’m not bothered, I am outside my house now – it’s burning, it’s up to you.”

Firefighters dashed to the four-bedroom house, where Higginson had lived for 36 years, to find her sitting outside covered in soot.

She started the blaze on June 11 while she was "clearly intoxicated" to spite her estranged husband Steve, causing £14,500 of damage.

Higginson's immediate neighbours were forced to flee their property but were not injured and their house was not damaged.

It was later revealed that the 57-year-old had received a solicitor's letter regarding the sale of the home on the day she set it alight.

The blaze was the climax of a bitter hate campaign waged by Higginson following the collapse of her marriage.

She also attacked her neighbours, her in-laws, and a builder who once worked for her during the bitter divorce.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Higginson admitted arson and breaching a restraining order and was jailed for 34 months.

Prosecutor Lisa Boocock told the hearing: ''The defendant herself rang the police and stated her house was on fire. She said, “I’m not bothered, I am outside my house it’s burning, it’s up to you''.

''It is a semi-detached house and she had lived there for some time with her husband and they were in the process of getting divorced.


"The defendant accepts it was a deliberate act out of frustration to some extent it was revenge because of the acrimonious divorce she was going through."

Ms Boocock added that Higginson was found "clearly intoxicated" by firefighters on the day of the blaze.

She continued: ''Inside there were two sites of ignition with a lighter and furniture polish nearby but it’s unclear whether that was used in the fire.

''They found damage of about £14,500 caused to the house in the downstairs and front room.

''Mr Higginson is concerned the defendant has done this deliberately so he’s left with nothing.

''They had a 27-year marriage which was plagued by both of them using alcohol and the defendant continued to abuse it – and he believes that’s been the cause of this.

''She made admissions to starting the fire and having a dispute with her ex-husband and was frustrated couldn’t sell the house.''

Higginson had already been made the subject of a restraining order after harassing Mr Higginson's sister, Tracey Dunphy, following the passing of their father in 2018.

She was angry that her estranged husband had not received any inheritance money from his late father – so would turn up uninvited at the home of Mrs Dunphy and start "kicking off."

Higginson also smashed a wine bottle against their front door and shouted abuse at them from the street.

She also harassed a builder who stopped construction work at her house due to her drunken behaviour.

At an earlier trial, Higginson's lawyer Emma Hassall said: “She had run a successful business and a family home but she lost her job and as a result turned to alcohol.

''Her husband has left their home and removed all his belongings. He had stopped paying his part of the mortgage and she has cashed in her pension and made arrangements to pay half the mortgage.

“There clearly are some issues with anxiety, stress and depression but in the main it has been alcohol issues. They caused the breakdown of this relationship.''


Sentencing Higginson Judge John Potter told her: '''You are an intelligent women but your behaviour on the afternoon and evening was nothing more or less than a disgrace.

"It was inspired throughout by self-indulgence and your continued wish to abuse alcohol.

''Earlier that day you had received a solicitors letter in relation to your impending divorce from your husband and the content of the letter caused you distress.

''You decided to set to your house causing damage to your neighbour's house.

"I accept you have mental health difficulties and developed alcohol dependency but none of this properly excuses your appalling behaviour.

''But the fact you set a fire in your house which is immediately attached to your neighbours clearly placed them at risk of serious harm.

''On arrest, your behaviour was described as erratic and aggressive and to put it bluntly that’s an understatement.

"Whilst at the hospital having care administered to you, you began screaming highly inappropriate language at the police officers falsely claiming you were being bullied.

''This behaviour was at a time when our hospitals where placed under additional stress and strain with having to deal with the current pandemic.

"You have three children who are now adults who support you and contribute positively to their communities and are a credit to you. It's a great pity you at this stage in your life are unable to reciprocate this.''

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