AN EX-HUSBAND who blew up his marital home while both he and his former wife were inside it has been jailed for five years and four months.

Ian Clowes was due to be evicted on the day he triggered a huge gas explosion that ripped the house apart and almost killed both him and his ex-wife Elaine Clowes.

Rescuers found Mrs Clowes in a pile of rubble while 68-year-old Clowes suffered serious burns that caused him to spend six weeks in a medically-induced coma.

A court heard that after the couple's marriage ended in 2015, their home in Sterte Road was converted into two flats. However, Clowes, a house clearer, allowed the insurance on the building to lapse after undergoing "severe financial difficulties".

As a result, a court order was issued allowing Mrs Clowes, 63, to gain control of both flats.

On the afternoon of October 22 2018, Clowes opened the valve of a gas cannister in his flat and ignited it. The explosion tore the roof from the property.

Stuart Ellacott, prosecuting at Bournemouth Crown Court on Wednesday, said: "There is a level of malice with this case.

"It may be that he did not intend to cause injury to Mrs Clowes but he did not want her to get the house.

"The malice comes from him not wanting her to get what he thought she should not."

Mrs Clowes said she was at home on the afternoon of the blast when she heard a noise from above and the ceiling crashed down into her flat.

The emergency services were able to get her out of her bedroom after forcing open the window and lifting her over the rubble.

In the immediate aftermath of the explosion Clowes was heard to say that he 'just did not want to be here anymore', the court heard.

Mr Ellacott said: "The blast caused the total destruction of the defendant's flat and he was saved from the upstairs.

"He had to be airlifted to hospital where he remained until January. He had 30 per cent burns and was in an induced coma for around five or six weeks."

The fire service found a red gas cylinder in the defendant's flat that was 'still venting'.

Mrs Clowes' victim impact statement was read aloud to the court. In it, she said: "I would never suspect he would do something like this."

Clowes previously admitted to an offence of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Robert Grey, mitigating, said: "Due to the nature of his injuries Mr Clowes is unable to remember the events prior, during or after the incident.

"He accepts that he must have released the valve but does not remember doing so.

"He says he never meant to cause injury to anyone let alone risk any life."

Sentencing Clowes, Judge Jonathan Fuller QC said the defendant's "wicked" crime had caused significant harm.