Skip to comments.Man 'Torched £350,000 Home To Stop His Wife Getting It In Divorce'
Posted on 11/20/2007 7:04:29 PM PST by DogByte6RER
Man 'torched £350,000 home to stop his wife getting it in divorce'
By CHRIS BROOKE
Last updated at 00:57am on 21st November 2007
A furious husband burnt down his £350,000 home to stop his wife receiving it in a divorce settlement, a court heard.
Gary Hooley, a builder, had previously threatened to "knock the house down brick by brick" during one of many heated rows with his wife Michelle.
With the short marriage heading for divorce, he set fire to the house they shared in a callous act of retribution committed while drunk, Sheffield Crown Court was told.
The detached dormer bungalow, which 50-year-old Hooley had extensively renovated inside, was largely gutted and almost all possessions were destroyed in the arson attack in February this year.
No one was inside at the time of the late-night blaze.
Mrs Hooley owned the home, which was hers from a previous marriage and was in her name. She insured it and was paying the mortgage. Her contents insurance included expensive jewellery and 70 pairs of shoes.
Iain Hillis, prosecuting, said: "It may be he realised his marriage was over and wanted to destroy the house."
Police arrested Hooley nearby, sleeping in the front seat of his van.
Hooley, who denies arson, drank eight or nine pints of beer that night. He told police he had nothing to do with the fire and someone else must have started it.
The couple, who had known each other since school, had been going out for two years before getting married.
But it was far from wedded bliss and they agreed on a trial separation last July. After four months apart they agreed to try again, but it did not work.
Asked in court about the state of the marriage at the time of the fire, Mrs Hooley, 49, said: "I think it was just about on its last legs."
Mr Hillis asked her if she wanted to stay married to Hooley. She replied: "No."
The fire happened after the couple had gone to a 50th birthday party for a female friend of Mrs Hooley's in a pub near their home in Barnsley.
Mrs Hooley said her husband had been in a bad mood all evening and they argued when he ignored her request to watch her handbag when she went for a dance.
Although he calmed down when they danced together, he remained "very offhand" and "snappy".
When she told him she could do no right in his eyes, he pushed over a table of drinks and said: "I'm out of here." He told his wife: 'I'm going to have you brick by brick."
She did not feel like going home and stayed with a friend - only to be awoken by a call from the police in the early hours saying her house was on fire.
Mrs Hooley, an adviser for an energy company, said all her clothes and sentimental items were destroyed.
The marital bed and bedroom were burned to a cinder.
Her daughter from a previous relationship, Lauren Hooson, and Lauren's boyfriend, who both lived in the upstairs half of the house, were out at the time. Two dogs were rescued from the blaze.
Under cross-examination by Ian Storey, defending, Mrs Hooley said the marriage had been "full of quarrels". In one earlier row Hooley allegedly told her: "I will bulldoze the house down brick by brick."
And the court heard that when Hooley temporarily moved out in July last year he had asked for his property and she refused to hand it over.
Mrs Hooley admitted her husband's personal belongings had gone up in smoke in the blaze as well as hers, but she denied a defence claim that Hooley had made £50,000 of improvements to the house.
Asked if she was convinced he had started the fire, she said: "I am, yes."
Her father, Trevor Carr, told the court the police rang him to say the house was on fire. He rang Hooley and said: "Do you know your house is on fire?"
Hooley allegedly replied: "So what. It's nothing to do with me." Asked where he was, Hooley said: "I can't tell you that."
The trial continues.
Yes...but this was all burned well before the arson.
So now he’s waiting for her to get the cash from the insurance payout. And if he’s not in lock-up he’ll burn the cash too.
What does £350,000 equal in US $$$???
War of the Roses - Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Life imitates art.
I know the dollar is weak right now and there is worldwide housing inflation, but it doesn’t look like it was worth $700,000.
Property and house pricing in the UK is far higher than over here.
So whas da problema? They look like a perfect match with those smirky lil smiles....now kiss and make up...and dang it man easy on the whiskey sours dude.... 70 pairs of shoes ay girl?
Is it riverfront? (She Insured it?) LOL
It appears she didn't marry the first guy - good thing. She'd have been Michelle Hooly Hooson.
Damn right it is. It’s obscenely higher.
“I know the dollar is weak right now and there is worldwide housing inflation,
but it doesnt look like it was worth $700,000.”
Housing or Real Estate is expensive enough in most of the USA
(even with the current downturn).
But it’s can approach the level of obscenely expensive in places like
the UK (or places in the USA like Los Angeles).
There IS a reason that in the USA you run into people that have fled
places like the UK and other sorts of places.
The places they know they’ll likely never be able to afford a house
or even a bare-bones condo.
Hmmmmmm. Previous marriage from divorce? or inheritance?
$700,000 doesn’t go very far there, does it?
She probably looks much better in firelight.
Depends on three things.....location, location and location.
burn, baby burn... disco inferno!
Anyone this violent could well decide to take her out also.
And it was her house to begin with! The man is dangerous...
The Roof, The Roof, The roof is on fire...