AFTER discovering his girlfriend had been cheating on him, pipe layer Thomas Stephen Conway told her he would burn their home down with her inside it, a court heard last Thursday.

Harrogate magistrates were told 23-year-old Conway had made drunken attempts to set fire to Amy Bramley's bed and then to set alight curtains in a living room at a house they shared in Black Swan Mews, Belle Vue Terrace, Ripon, on October 27.

Prosecutor Gaynor Zeki said after his initial attempts failed, Conway succeeded in igniting a tea towel, paper towels and a pile of laundry in the kitchen.

Miss Bradley had put out the flames before realising her dog had escaped through an open door. When she returned from collecting it, Conway had lit a bowl of potpourri.

Conway pleaded guilty to arson.

Clive Farndon, defending, said Conway and Miss Bramley had been in a three-year relationship, serious and stable, and had talked from time to time of starting a family.

Conway spent his working week away from Ripon and after Miss Bramley lost her job in July he was the one who paid the rent and all the household expenses.

Mr Farndon said last month Conway had been devastated to be told, completely out of the blue, she wanted to end their relationship.

The couple decided to remain in the property, sleeping in separate rooms, until their tenancy expired.

Shortly after the decision Conway, sorting out a fault on Miss Bramley’s mobile phone, discovered messages of a sexual nature from which it was evident she had been sleeping with another man while he was away working.

When confronted, Miss Bramley, after an initial denial, admitted the affair had been going on for some time, a confession which led to Conway drowning his sorrows by going out and drinking seven or eight pints.

‘‘His intention on returning was to upset his partner and cause her some distress. It was his way of paying back the hurt and distress he felt,’’ said Mr Farndon.

‘‘He went round the home with his lighter trying to ignite various items, sometimes with success, sometimes without success.”

Court chairman Elizabeth Hesp ordered probation reports before sentencing. She bailed Conway, who has now gone to live at his father’s home in Station Cottages, Beamish, until December 6, banning him from all contact with Miss Bramley in the meantime.