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MURDER: Simon Childs, 52, sent chilling texts to ex-wife Mandy before house fire

Wednesday 15th May 2019

THE man accused of killing his mother in law in a house fire in West Malling has told a jury: "I am not a controlling person."

Under prosecution cross-examination by Caroline Carberry QC, Simon Childs (52) admitted a series of threatening actions designed to frighten his ex-wife of 16 years, Mandy, in the days and weeks before the blaze.

Maidstone Crown Court also heard how he sent abusive and "sexual and disturbing" text messages. 

Mr Childs, of Hurricane Road, stands accused of setting fire to the family home in which his mother in law, Jackie Allen (65), died. 

One text said: "We know where you live. Can we come over? We will be watching you, so do as we say."

A message to another person stated: "I am going to burn them out." Mr Childs protested that "I wouldn't do that."

Asked by Mrs Carberry if "sexual and disturbing" texts were designed to frighten and cause anxiety, he said: "Yes."

Asked if calling on Mandy to get a television from the house in Spitfire Road was to "spite Mandy", he replied: "She had everyhting - I just wanted something for myself."

He suspected that Mandy was in a new relationship with Mr Childs' cousin and when he was asked if he wanted to "punish" her, he replied: "Yes."

But he told the jury: "I am not a controlling person. I an not an obsessive person."

Childs denies murder, attempted murder and arson with intent to endanger life in November last year. The trial continues.