James Holt, 18, caused £106,000 worth of damage to the home of Emily Longden. Holt, of Bevelin Hall, Saundersfoot, admitted arson and was sent to a young offenders’ institution for two years.
Swansea crown court heard how Holt set fire to a bed at Southwinds, Culver Park, Tenby. But he used an accelerant and the flames quickly spread, causing £90,000 worth of structural damage.
Miss Longden’s family also lost £16,000 worth of personal possessions, including irreplaceable photographs.
Chris James, Holt’s barrister, said he had had extremely strong feelings for Miss Longden and was completely lost when the relationship ended.
He had tried to take his own life and the arson was more of a cry for help, added Mr James. Holt was the only person in the property at the time. Judge Paul Thomas said the fire was a spiteful act of revenge.
He said thousands of young people ended relationships with the opposite sex every day but they did not react in the way he had.
“Their home was ruined and Emily’s studies were interrupted at an important time in her life.
“I have to have in mind the profound impact on that family.
“Irreplaceable family mementos were lost for ever and all because your girlfriend finished with you.
“The fire got out of control. But if you play with fire you don’t know what the consequences will be.
“I accept that the only person at risk was you,” he added.
Judge Thomas said he noted that in 2009 Holt had caused “gratuitous” damage to a house by spreading cream on the floor. For that he had received a police caution.