AN ENGAGED man who was having an affair with another woman set her flat on fire in a drunken, jealous rage.

Preston Crown Court heard 24-year-old Junaid Ahmed was seething about victim Aniyah Mahmood's plan to go out for the night with her sister and brother-in-law.

Prosecuting David Clarke said Ahmed had even driven to the victim's flat in Ivinson Road, Darwen, to confront her but she pretended not to be in.

However after a drunken night in Preston, Ahmed, drove to Ms Mahmood's rented flat in the early hours of June 9 and set fire to her clothes.

As well as causing £21,000 damage to Ms Mahmood's property, the fire also caused smoke damage to three other flats.

Recorder David Potter said the fire, which reached a heat of several hundred centigrade, could have had 'catastrophic consequences'.

Outlining the case Recorder Potter said Ahmed and Ms Mahmood had been in a casual but intimate relationship and he would stay at her flat once a week, usually when he had been drinking.

The flat, which she rented from Together Housing, was located on the ground floor but the one above it was unoccupied. However the two adjoining flats were occupied.

Around 8pm Ahmed and Ms Mahmood, who was getting ready to go out in Manchester with her sister and her brother-in-law, were texting each other.

The court heard how Ahmed took exception to Ms Mahmood's plans and during a telephone conversation he told her she was not going out. She responded by swearing at Ahmed and putting the phone down on him.

Mr Clarke said while driving to her house Ahmed rang the victim again telling her she was not going out and demanding to know who she was with.

When he arrived, Ms Mahmood turned all the lights off and pretended she had left, ignoring Ahmed's knocks on the door and his calls and texts.

At 1am Ms Mahmood's sister arrived and they went to Manchester with her partner.

Ahmed continued to text Ms Mahmood throughout the night and by 5.30am, while he was in a nightclub in Preston, another row started.

'Fuelled by alcohol and rage' Ahmed, who had been banned from the road six months earlier for drink-driving, drove to Ivinson Road.

Once inside Ahmed took a TV he had bought Ms Mahmood as a replacement for a set damaged in a previous argument between the pair and put it in his Ford Focus.

Ahmed said he then broke some bottles of alcohol and took a quantity of the victim's clothing with the intention of damaging them. He then he took out his cigarette lighter and deliberately set fire to a piece of clothing. He said he 'thought better of it', stamped out the fire and left the house.

However, Mr Clarke said the fire, which originated from the sofa, wasn't out and caused severe fire and smoke damage to the living room.

Ahmed, of Eldon Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and driving while disqualified.

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In her victim impact statement Ms Mahmood said she didn't have contents insurance and had lost thousands of pounds of clothes, computer equipment and electrical items in the fire.

Mr Clarke said: "He had done this in such a vindictive manner because she had gone out with friends and family and he didn't approve."

Defending, Damian Nolan said: "At the time of the offence he was in a state of emotional flux. He had his long-term relationship and he was in an intimate relationship with Ms Mahmood. That seems to have been brought under control. He is due to be married later this year to his fiancee."

Ahmed was jailed for 28 months and a 10-year restraining order was imposed.