My evil ex set fire to my rabbit’s hutch killing my beloved pet and burning down my home – The Sun
WHEN teen Lauren Reynolds dumped controlling Ethan Andrews, she hoped to have him out of her life for good.
But little did she know he was planning a deadly revenge attack – setting a fire in her garden, killing her beloved rabbit and gutting much of her family home.
Sick Andrews, 18, drove to his ex's house in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, in the dead of night on July 16 last year.
He poured petrol over Lauren's bunny Spice's hutch before setting it ablaze – having previously told his ex: "I can't wait for you to die".
The resulting explosion gutted the family's living room, destroyed their garden decking and damaged windows and doors – leaving the house uninhabitable for ten months.
Lauren, also 18, told Fabulous Digital: "My rabbit Spice was my best friend and Ethan knew that, he target my innocent bunny just to get back at me.
"He burnt most of our family home down in the process too, he's sick.
"I wish I'd never met him. I now suffer with really bad anxiety, PTSD, I have to have therapy.
"I have dreadful guilt about what happened even though I know logically it's not my fault."
He burnt most of our family home down, he's sick
Lauren and Andrews met while studying animal management at Shuttleworth College, Bedfordshire, and bonded over a love of furry creatures.
But Lauren, who's now been forced to quit her studies because of her anxiety and PTSD, dumped Andrews when he became possessive and controlling.
Andrews begged for her back, claiming to see the error of his ways, and Lauren tentatively gave him another chance.
She said: "He told me that things would be different but after a few days he went back to being really paranoid and trying to tell me who I could and couldn't speak to.
"He’d also taken to ringing me 20 times in a row to ask what I was doing.
"He’d go crazy if I didn’t get back to him straight away – so I ended it again, this time for good.
"After I dumped him he sent some really nasty texts saying: 'It's only over when I say it's over' and 'I can't wait for you to die'.
"But I ignored him and after a little while the messages stopped – I honestly thought that would be the last we'd hear from him."
After I dumped him he sent some really nasty texts saying: 'It's only over when I say it's over' and 'I can't wait for you to die'
Lauren was living with her mum Lisa, 54, a supervisor at Cancer Research; dad Darren, 47, a chef; brother Alex, 21; and a range of pets including her rabbit, a dog, two geckos, a hedgehog and four degus.
During the arson attack in July, Andrews crept into Lauren's garden and set Spice's rabbit hutch ablaze.
It wasn't until the sleeping family were forced to evacuate their home, along with their neighbours, that they realised it could have been deliberate.
Lauren said: "All I remember from that night was being woken up by my dad dragging me out of the house.
"I was stood in the street in my PJs – there were fire crews everywhere and all our neighbours had been dragged out of their houses too.
"All I cared about was my animals that were stuck inside, it was horrible.
"I was wailing and crying uncontrollably and my dad went back into the fire.
"We were screaming at him not to as it was so dangerous but he came out about 30 seconds later – he'd managed to rescue my hedgehog Wrillo.
"It wasn't until my brother Alex mentioned he thought Ethan might be responsible that the penny dropped.
"Even after everything he'd done I still didn't think he'd be capable of that.
"Ethan tried to claim in court that he didn't realise Spice would be in his hutch, but as my dad said 'where did he think Spice would be, on a bloody night out?'
"Thankfully the judge didn't believe a word of it."
Tragically, the family's dog also died a few months later – from smoke inhalation.
It's horrid to think that we welcomed him into our home and our lives, for him to repay us like this.
Andrews was arrested hours later, after being caught on a neighbour's CCTV camera.
Police found a jerry can and lighter in his car.
He later admitted arson ‘reckless as to whether life was endangered’ and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
The teenage arsonist was jailed in October 2018 after being sentenced to 32 months – 13 in prison and 19 out on licence – at St Albans Crown Court.
The case was investigated by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit.
Detective Constable Colin Workman said: "It is clear from the fire investigation that numerous lives were put at risk by Andrews’ actions.
"The explosion was so large it woke up neighbours and it was only their quick actions in raising the alarm that stopped lives being lost.''
Where can you get help?
You don't have to suffer in silence.
If you are experiencing domestic violence or someone you know is there are groups that can help.
Refuge runs a free, 24-hour helpline on 0808 2000 247
You can also visit the website or contact Women’s Aid.
The damage was so extensive that the family have only just been able to return home, after living in cramped temporary accommodation for more than ten months.
Lauren's mum Lisa told Fabulous Digital: "Lauren is the sweetest girl, she's so caring and kind. This whole thing has hit her really hard.
"The whole family have massively suffered, our pet dog even died a few months after the fire from smoke inhalation.
"It's been devastating for us all. I've tried to console Lauren but she seems to blame herself.
"The only person to blame for this is Ethan. It's horrid to think that we welcomed him into our home and our lives, for him to repay us like this."
Last week, we spoke to a mum whose daughter was set on fire by her ex – and testified at his murder trial from beyond the grave.
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