'It was reduced to ashes': Jealous dad set fire to ex partner's entire fashion collection at her home in Leeds during 'venomous' rage after she ended their relationship

A jealous dad set fire to his ex-partner's entire collection of clothing in a 'venomous' rage after she ended their relationship.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 11:45 am

Mark McAteer burned wardrobes full of clothes thought to be worth as much as £12,000 during the arson attack at her home in Leeds.

Leeds Crown Court heard the 54-year-old defendant was "consumed with jealousy and bitterness" when he committed the offence in July last year.

Ben Bell, prosecuting, said McAteer and the woman have a three-year-old daughter together.

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Leeds Crown Court
Leeds Crown Court

The victim ended the relationship in January last year but continued to let McAteer visit her home in Roundhay to see their daughter as he did not have a settled address.

On July 11 McActeer was allowed to stay at her home to look after their daughter while she went out for the night.

During the evening McAteer sent more than 50 text messages to the woman.

The messages became more aggressive in nature as McAteer drank alcohol.

One message read: "I'm about to burn all of your clothes in the garden."

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Mr Bell said the victim works in the fashion industry and had spent years collecting dresses.

She provided a statement to the court describing how the offence had left her devastated.

The value of the clothing was at least £4,500 but was potentially worth up to £12,000.

McAteer, of Barton Court, Whitkirk, pleaded guilty to arson.

Peter Byrne, mitigating, said McAteer was sorry for what he had done and had pleaded guilty to the offence at an early stage.

Mr Byrne said his client had given the woman some money since the offence, although it was not enough to cover the cost of the clothing she had lost.

Judge Simon Phillips QC said: "You were aware that she was out for the night and you were consumed with jealousy and bitterness towards her.

"You indicated that you were planning to destroy her wardrobes of clothing.

"This was heartless and very deliberate and spiteful.

"Your actions were intended to cause very great distress.

"She had been collecting dresses for many years because she had been involved in fashion all her life and you knew what those items of clothing from her wardrobe meant to her.

"In emotional terms they were of inestimable value.

"In monetary terms they were worth more than £4,500 and potentially up to £12,000.

"It was reduced, in its entirety, to ashes.

"The knowledge of what you had done and the venom with which you expressed yourself caused her to feel sick, scared and upset."