Jilted boyfriend tried to set ex-partner’s home on fire in Sheffield

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A jilted boyfriend who tried to set his former partner’s house on fire by putting a lit paper bag through her letter box has escaped jail.

Luke Downing, 33, also twice assaulted his ex, stole her mobile phone and once left her partially naked in the street.

Judge Mark Gargan told Downing: “Your behaviour has been deeply unpleasant, humiliating, dangerous and violent.”

But he was given a suspended sentence after admitting harassment and breach of a restraining order at Sheffield Crown Court.

Downing, of Maltravers Terrace, Wybourn, Sheffield had an on-off relationship with the woman for a number of years.

After they split in February 2013, Downing was given a two-year restraining order not to contact her.

But in March that year Downing contacted her and claimed to be a changed man so they resumed their relationship and he moved back in.

After the couple split again Downing tried unsuccessfully to gain entry to the house in December and put a lit paper bag through the letter box with his ex-partner having to douse the flames.

The couple got back together again but in May 2014 he assaulted her and left her partially naked in the street.

She and her son moved in with her parents the next month but Downing went round and knocked her unconscious.

He took the house keys, locked her in and took her mobile but she managed to escape through a window.

Downing was arrested when he came uninvited into the woman’s mother’s house in Darnall in July and refused to leave.

Amy Earnshaw, defending, said: “He is ashamed of his actions and cannot explain why he behaved in this manner.”

Judge Gargan told Downing: “You did an act which could have led to a serious fire and you humiliated her by leaving her naked in the street. You punched her and then stole her phone and then later you sought her out at her mother’s and were violent again.”

But he said the relationship had been consensual until last June and since then there had been no further problems.

He gave Downing an 18-month jail term suspended for two years, a three-year restraining order, unpaid community work of 200 hours and he will have to attend a relationships course.