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Bitter husband blows up house with ex in flat below

Ruin: The devastation after the blast, motivated by ‘malice’ PICS: ROGERARBON/ DORSET POLICE/ BNPS

A MAN has been jailed for more than five years for blowing up his home while his ex-wife was downstairs.

The ‘almighty explosion’ happened on the day Ian Clowes had to hand her the property as part of divorce proceedings.

Clowes, 68, had separated from his wife Elaine, 63, and converted their house in Poole, Dorset, into two flats, Bournemouth crown court heard. He lived upstairs and she downstairs.

Separated: Ian and Elaine Clowes (below)

Mrs Clowes gained a court order to buy out her ex-husband, who was due to hand over the keys on October 22, 2018.

Stuart Ellacott, prosecuting, said the defendant ‘was not happy’ with this and wanted the whole property to be sold — so he used a butane gas cylinder to destroy it. He said it was lucky Mrs Clowes was not injured or killed as the home ‘collapsed around her’.

Mr Ellacott read her account of the incident, saying: ‘All of a sudden there was an almighty explosion. The noise came from directly above me and there was debris coming down.’

The blast destroyed the defendant’s flat and he was rescued from the rubble with life-threatening injuries and 30 per cent burns to his body. ‘He was heard to say words to the effect of “I do not want to be here anymore”,’

Mr Ellacott told the court. Both flats and the neighbouring semi-detached house, worth £600,000 in total, were uninhabitable — and the neighbouring family were left homeless.

Clowes, who admitted arson reckless as to whether life was endangered, was jailed for five years and four months. Judge Jonathan Fuller QC called the crime ‘wicked’. He said: ‘This was motivated by a degree of malice; you didn’t want your wife to get the house.’ He added that Clowes ‘must have known’ his ex-wife was in the flat below.

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Clowes said the blast ‘hit me so hard’. She said: ‘I just kept looking at the devastation that had been my home a short time before. My livelihood and all I worked for has gone, I lost my world.’