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Dawlish fire-threat house husband discharged

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

A former firefighter who tried to set light to his home while suffering from the male equivalent of post-natal depression has been allowed to resume a normal life after completing almost two years of counselling.

Jason Jerome was under stress from the change from being a fireman to a house husband when he sprayed lighter fluid around his home in Dawlish and tried to set light to himself.

He received a two-year community order in April 2011 after admitting arson, but it has now been discharged two months early at Exeter Crown Court after the probation service praised the way he had worked with them.

Jerome, 40, has completed courses on domestic violence and reducing harm and worked with the social services and child protection teams and found a new job as a lorry driver.

Recorder Mr Paul Derbyshire said: "I am pleased to hear how you have sorted yourself out. You were in a bad mess two years ago but you have done extremely well and gone the extra mile.

"I have no hesitation in discharging this order and saying well done."

Jerome, of High Street, Dawlish, Devon, admitted arson and was made subject to a two-year community order in April 2011.

The order was discharged after a probation officer told the Recorder of his progress.

She said: "He has engaged wholly and completely in the domestic abuse programme, attended counselling and made changes in his life.

"He has co-operated with social and child protection services. He is back in full-time employment and done a lot of work to change his ways."

During the original case in 2011, the court heard how Jerome became upset and started acting out of character because he could not cope with the change from being a firefighter in Andover to a house husband in Devon.

He had moved after meeting his new partner Helen Jones online and taking on responsibility for two children, one in their teens and the other a seven-month baby.

On the night of the incident they had argued and he had returned home drunk, doused himself in lighter fluid, then lit a lighter. Miss Jones grabbed him and prevented him igniting himself or the house.

Mr Barrie White, defending, told the 2011 hearing:"He became the primary carer for a seven-month-old baby and felt isolated and worthless because of the shift in his life circumstances.

"He went to his GP and asked for help. "If he was a woman he may have been diagnosed as having post-natal depression."

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