Arson to 'teach partner a lesson'

A 52-year-old Invercargill man has been sentenced to home detention after burning his own house down to teach his partner a lesson.

Ronald George Rouse appeared before Judge Kevin Phillips in the Invercargill District Court this morning after admitting a charge of arson, which occurred on December 29, 2011.

He was sentenced to four months' home detention and 400 hours' community work.

Judge Phillips said the house, with a $160,000 government valuation, had been extensively renovated and Rouse had paid off the mortgage.

On December 29, at his partner's birthday party, an argument occurred and she left the house, he said.

Rouse went inside and checked to see if anyone was there before fetching a container of petrol from the garage, going back inside and pouring it through the kitchen and lounge before setting it on fire, Judge Phillips said.

Rouse then watched his house burn down. The fire brigade were called by a neighbour.

When he was spoken to by police Rouse said he was heavily intoxicated and wanted to teach his partner a lesson. He said he regretted what he had done and acknowledged how stupid it was.

The Southland Times