Letterbox arsonist, 23, who set fire to home of her partner’s ex-wife while she and others slept inside because she was ‘taking her time signing divorce papers’ is jailed for nearly four years

  • Chloe Shotton started seeing married man in 2019, sparking end of his marriage
  • She posted a flaming letter through the door of the house in North Shields 
  • Court heard that motive was the victim taking her time signing divorce papers
  • Shotton pleaded guilty to arson being reckless to whether life was endangered 
  • Mr Recorder Tony Hawks sentenced her to three-and-a-half years behind bars 

Chloe Shotton began seeing the married man in 2019

An arsonist who set fire to the home of her partner’s ex-wife while she and three others slept inside because she was ‘taking her time signing divorce papers’ has been jailed.

Chloe Shotton, 23, started seeing the married man in 2019, sparking the breakdown of his 22-year marriage.

She posted a flaming plastic bag through the door of the house in North Shields, North Tyneside, in the early hours of July 31 this year while the wife Leanne Stildolph was inside with her 17-year-old son, as well as her friend and her daughter. 

The fire, which had not spread beyond the porch, was put out before the emergency services arrived but caused damage to the value of £1,000. When Shotton was arrested, she said: ‘What happened to that house, did it burn down, did the people die?’ 

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the motive behind the attack was because the victim was taking her time in signing the divorce papers.

The court was told that Shotton was suspected of targeting the wife prior to the blaze by damaging cars and windows, but this was not proven.

Shotton, of Backworth, North Tyneside, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless to whether life was endangered.  

Mr Recorder Tony Hawks sentenced her to three-and-a-half years behind bars and told her the consequences could have been far worse. 

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Stildolph said she and her husband split ‘after his infidelity with (Shotton) and a subsequent child.’ 


The mum was present in the house in North Shields, North Tyneside, with her 17-year-old son as well as her friend and her daughter when the fire started on July 31. Pictured left: Chloe Shotton captured on CCTV setting fire to the property. Right: The door after the fire

She said she had been sent pictures of Shotton with her estranged husband, a video of them kissing in bed and ‘pornographic pictures of them’. 

The court heard she has 39 previous convictions recorded against her for 109 offences and was also subject to a suspended prison sentence for an offence of battery at the time of the blaze.

She was also convicted of battery on Mrs Stildolph’s estranged husband last July, when she got a suspended prison sentence. She flipped a table over in a pub and threw glasses towards him. 

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw said the wife had been ‘woken at 4:55am by her fire alarm’, adding: ‘On running downstairs she saw the porch full of smoke with the smell of burning.

‘The fire was extinguished prior to the emergency services arriving. The porch area was smoke damaged with the fire not spreading further.

‘The defendant had been arrested in respect of other alleged offences and whilst in police custody she said ”What happened to that house? Did it burn down? Did the people die?” ‘

Mr Wardlaw told the court that on checking security cameras, the defendant could be seen posting a letter through the letterbox which had been ignited using a lighter.

In a victim impact statement, the woman wrote that she is planning on moving homes in the near future as a result of the arson. 

She said: ‘She (Shotton) is the current partner of my estranged husband of 22 years. Since 2019 I have reported a number of incidents against Chloe.

‘In respect of the incident itself I have lived in a three-bedroom semi-detached house on a quiet road and I have done for some 16 years. The incident has had an impact not only on those of the household but also elderly neighbours.’

Shotton, of Backworth, North Tyneside, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless to whether life was endangered

It had been suggested that the motive behind the attack was because the victim was taking her time in signing the divorce papers.

Sentencing, the judge told Shotton: ‘You’re 23, you’re still very young. You have what I regard as an appalling record.

‘Fortunately for you and the occupants, they had a smoke alarm which was activated.

‘And so apart from the obvious distress and the damage caused to the house, no one was in fact injured.

‘That is not down to any behaviour on your part. You had the good sense to plead guilty and I’m sure now you thoroughly regret what you did.’

Geoff Knowles, mitigating, told the court it was clear to him Shotton appeared a ‘very different lady’ to the person who committed this offence.

He added: ‘Unfortunately it’s clear the trigger for a lot of her behaviour is the difficulties she had as a child growing up.’

After learning her fate, an emotional Shotton said: ‘I’m sorry for interrupting you and I know you’ve already given out a sentence.

‘The only reason I have a big record is because I had an obsession with the police and I didn’t get diagnosed with autism until I was 19.

‘I didn’t realise I always wanted attention off them but I’ve learned my lesson.’

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