A LORRY driver who resorted to sleeping in his van when his marriage ended took terrifying revenge on his estranged family.

Mark Taylor threatened to start a fire at their home in Middlesbrough, carried out an arson attack on his ex-wife's car, and warned his son what he would do next would be worse.

Father-of-three Taylor was jailed for three years and nine months by a judge who told him he had brooded and turned to drink after his family life came to an end.

Judge Stephen Ashurst, sitting at Teesside Crown Court, also imposed a five-year restraining order to keep the 51-year-old away from his former wife, son and two daughters.

The judge told him: "The order is not a punishment, it is a preventative order, to protect your estranged family and to protect you from yourself."

The court heard how Taylor had been "an old-fashioned father", working long hours and drinking heavily when he was off, and was oblivious to problems at home until he separated in 2014.

His barrister, Nigel Soppitt, said Taylor had been badly affected by his mother's death, and the trigger for his "terrible and terrifying mistake" seems to have been seeing his ex with a new boyfriend.

He first called and sent text messages to his son, 20, saying he had two gallons of petrol and was going to put one at the front door of the matrimonial home in Acklam and one at the back.

When his son said he would go to jail, he replied "I don't care", prosecutor Rachel Masters told the court.

Three days later, on August 7, he turned up at the house at 4.30am and set fire to a Skoda parked just feet away from the property.

In another series of angry messages and calls to his son four days later, Taylor admitted the arson attack, but said he had worse planned.

"I have got vengeance, I've got to equalise a wrongdoing," he said. "The person who has wronged me is going to suffer."

The police were alerted, and Taylor was found in the Scarborough area, and has since received psychiatric treatment.

Mr Soppitt said: "He accepts very plainly he has ruined his own life and blighted the lives of others. He considers himself these days to be fairly worthless."

Taylor admitted reckless arson, threatening to cause criminal damage and sending a communication with intent to cause distress or anxiety.