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Simon Childs 'murdered mother-in-law Jackie Allen' in West Malling fire

A "jealous and obsessive" man murdered his mother-in-law after deliberately torching a house, it was claimed today.

Simon Childs, 52, is alleged to have started the fire in West Malling last November in which 65-year-old Jackie Allen died.

Today Childs, of Hurricane Road, West Malling, has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

Simon Childs who was charged with the murder of Jackie Allen
Simon Childs who was charged with the murder of Jackie Allen

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC told Maidstone Crown Court: "He was a jealous and obsessive man with a history of erratic behaviour after the breakdown of his marriage."

She claimed that Childs told a friend he was "going to burn the house down."

Ms Carberry said that after the fire began in Spitfire Road in Kings Hill, West Malling, another person inside jumped to safety but Mrs Allen died.

Grandmother Jackie Allen, 65, died in a house fire in West Malling (6117495)
Grandmother Jackie Allen, 65, died in a house fire in West Malling (6117495)

Childs had appeared at Maidstone Magistrates' Court just before the fire and admitted assaulting his estranged wife, Mandy during earlier incidents.

He was given a community order but told to wear an electronic tag for three months.

Childs had also been ordered to keep away from his ex's house while on bail for that offence, but ignored the ruling and was caught trying to climb a ladder to get in through an upstairs window.

House fire at Spitfire Road, West Malling.Picture: Matthew Walker (6117540)
House fire at Spitfire Road, West Malling.Picture: Matthew Walker (6117540)

Mandy told police: "I don't know what he is capable of at the moment due to his unknown state of mind."

Ms Carberry said that Childs should have been in his house in Hurricane Road between 6pm and 3.30 am.

But she alleged the company monitoring the tag will say he wasn’t there at the time the fire was started.

The scene of the incident in December

The trial continues.

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To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Malling


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