Millionaire Sets Fire to His Own Home to Spite His Wife

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jul.10 - 2024 10:10 AM CET

The British millionaire and pro golfer narrowly avoided jail time.

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Breakups can be messy.

But for British millionaire Francis McGuirk, it was a particularly messy situation.

The former pro golf player was almost sentenced to jail after setting fire to his million-dollar family home — just to prevent his wife from having it following their breakup.

Francis McGuirk, once a professional at Prince's Golf Club, was accused of setting fire to his £900,000 (around $1.4 million) house in Sandwich, United Kingdom, last year out of spite for his wife, Sarah.

In the trial that recently ended, the 50-year-old McGuirk narrowly escaped prison time, despite the serious nature of his actions.

This story was covered by Kent Online.

The Incident

On June 25 last year, McGuirk entered the house he owned with his soon-to-be-ex-wife and locked himself inside, snapping the keys in the locks.

He then took out his phone and sent a text to Sarah, informing her that he was going to "burn the house to the ground."

According to the case's prosecutor, Caroline Knight, “Sarah was at a dinner party on the night of the incident."

Knowing the address would be empty, the father-of-three proceeded to act on his promise. At first, he tried to start the fire by igniting cooking oil. When that failed, he used lighter fluid to set fire to some cushions in the living room.

Noticing the situation unfolding, concerned neighbors called emergency services.

When the firefighters arrived at the scene, they found McGuirk outside the burning house acting erratically. He refused medical treatment for his minor burns and seemed determined to go back into the house to rescue the family dog, Dolly, who was still trapped inside.

One of the first responders later testified that McGuirk had told him of his intention to set fire to the house because he “didn’t want the b***h to have everything.”

Legal Outcome

The seafront property in Sandwich suffered considerable damage, with soot covering most rooms. But the firefighters managed to contain the flames before they spread to surrounding buildings and saved Dolly, the family dog.

Despite the judge being convinced that McGuirk set the fire out of spite, the defense argued that McGuirk had intended to take his own life that night.

Considering this, the judge sentenced him to a suspended two-year sentence, warning that any further offenses would result in imprisonment.