Nurse's house set on fire by addict she met in rehab clinic

A CRAZED lover who set his former partner's home on fire after she dumped him is facing a lengthy jail sentence.

Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 10:24 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd November 2018, 7:59 am

Pieter Lens targeted psychiatric nurse Pauline Nisbet when she called off their relationship due to his erratic behaviour.

Lens, 38, also threatened to kill Ms Nisbet and made phone calls to her family claiming he would also burn their homes down.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard the pair struck up a relationship after meeting at the private Castle Craig drug and drink rehab clinic near Peebles. Dutchman Lens was treated there for six weeks in February from a facility in his homeland and the couple began their affair following his release.

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General view of Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Ian Georgeson
General view of Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Ian Georgeson

But he started acting 
erratically and grabbed the wheel when Ms Nisbet tried to dump him during a car journey.

Lens forced her to stop and emptied her handbag on the roadside before driving off leaving Ms Nisbet stranded on the A1 near Musselburgh.

He was detained by police and bragged that he wanted his ex dead before being released.

Lens met his victim near her Peebles home and the pair rowed before he was seen with a lighter in his hand.

When the nurse arrived at the scene she saw black smoke billowing from a window and she found Lens had started blazes in a gas fire and a mattress.

He then texted her sister stating: “Watch it burn – your family brings me down. I’m coming for you as I’ve nothing to lose.”

He added: “I’m your worst nightmare you stupid idiot. Don’t close your eyes at night.”

Police later discovered Lens lying on the ground hiding behind a parked car.

Lens appeared from custody yesterday and pleaded guilty to nine charges including fire- raising, threatening behaviour, breaching bail conditions and driving offences committed in July.

Procurator fiscal depute Peter Motion told the court Lens and Ms Nisbet began seeing each other romantically in April this year “following a friendship” at the hospital but the nurse began to have second thoughts within months.

He said Lens told detectives he intended to kill Ms Nisbet and “he didn’t care if he was in jail as his life was over anyway”.

Following his arrest and while on remand in prison, Lens sent Ms Nisbet four letters imploring her to change her statement in an effort to secure his release.

There is no suggestion of 
any relationship developing while she worked at Castle Craig.

Solicitor John Goode, def­ending, said his client had struggled with “psychiatric problems and substance abuse” for the past 20 years and had been at Castle Craig after being transferred for treatment from Holland.

Mr Goode said the Home Office was aware of the situation and Lens will be deported following the completion of his sentence.

The solicitor saved his full mitigation to next month’s sentencing hearing, but added: “He is very regretful and is reasonably insightful into what has happened with his life recently.”

Sheriff Thomas Welsh, QC, deferred sentence for social work and psychiatric reports.