Divorce battle leads to arson

As part of a bitter divorce battle a husband burned down the family home three days before it was due to be sold to stop his estranged wife getting her half share.

75-year-old John McCorry did not want to leave the marital home, a 200-year-old cottage in Devon, however his former wife got a court order to force its sale.

The retired carpenter used a blowtorch to start a fire in a workshop at the back of the house just three days before a new family were due to move in on June 20th 2020. He set light to the building and then sat drinking whisky in the garden as the flames took hold.

The entire village of Kennford, home to the cottahe, was sealed off as firefighters working from six appliances used breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze last year. Despite their efforts the blaze still caused serious damage to the roof and a mezzanine floor. The building, which was about to be sold for £550,000, was so badly damaged that the charred remains have been sold for just £320,000.

McCorry, of Exeter, admitted a charge of arson, and being reckless as to whether life was endangered, but claimed he started the blaze by accident. However, after a fact-finding hearing at Exeter Crown Court, his account was dismissed by Judge Keith Cutler. The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report.