Ian Price leaves Birmingham Crown Court and stands accused of trying to murder his wife
A cheating husband plotted to murder his wife by using a timeswitch to burn their house down - while he was spending the night with his mistress, a court heard.
Kitchen planner Ian Price, 30, plugged a heat gun normally used to strip wallpaper into a timer on an electrical socket and set it to come on in the middle of the night while his wife Joanne slept, it was claimed.
The improvised incendiary device worked as planned, sparking a blaze in the spare room of the Prices' marital home, the jury heard.
Fortunately, Mrs Price woke in time to call the fire brigade and escaped unscathed - wrecking her husband's alleged plan to murder her, and pay off his debts with £190,000 in life insurance and pension payouts.
Prosecutor Gordon Aspden told Birmingham Crown Court that Mr Price's 'premeditated and well-planned' attempt to kill his wife in November 2007 would have 'freed him from the double life he had been living for several months' if successful.
Mr Aspden said: 'In order to keep himself out of harm's way, Mr Price pretended he had to go out on business that night so he would not be at home.
'In truth, ladies and gentlemen, he spent the night with a lady with whom he had secretly been having an affair with for some time.
'The prosecution case is that this was a premeditated and well-planned attempt to kill an entirely innocent woman for entirely selfish reasons.
'Mr Price staged the whole thing to make it look like an accident.'
Mr Aspden said Mr Price had plugged the heat gun into the timeswitch behind a pile of wicker furniture and Christmas decorations, that hid them for view - and 'for good measure' left a blow torch and gas cylinder nearby to help fuel the blaze.
Heat guns can produce temperatures of up to 1,200 degree farenheit, and should only be used with great care.
Mrs Price told the court how firemen showed her the device, which was set to midnight, after she escaped the fire.
She said: 'I was shocked and I just remember thinking, "I need to get in touch with Ian to find out what's gone on".'
He did not respond to calls or texts until the following morning.
The court was also told that Mrs Price was hoping to have a baby - and that her husband had previously tried to poison her by replacing the contents of her medicinal iron capsules with a nicotine mixture.
Nicotine can be fatal in even small doses.
Price allegedly set up an elaborate fire starting device, which he hoped would kill Joanne Price, in the home they shared, above
Mrs Price, who worked as a nurse at Lincoln County Hospital, discovered the tub of tablets and questioned him, but he told her that he had planned to take them himself.
Mr Aspden told the court that Mr Price, who worked as a kitchen planner for MFI, researched poisoning methods on the internet.
An investigation of his laptop found searches using the phrases 'untraceable poison', 'how to poison a person', and 'nicotine poison deaths' dating back to 2006, the court heard.
And in August 2006, the jury was told, Mr Price began experimenting with poisons.
Mr Aspden said: 'Not only was Mr Price making home-made poisons, but he began to experiment with these poisons on his wife.'
Mrs Price noted that his behaviour was 'odd', and began to notice a strange taste in her food and drink, the court heard.
'Eventually she confronted her husband about it, and he denied putting anything in her food,' Mr Aspden said.
A month after the confrontation, it was claimed, Mrs Price found in the kitchen a tub of 'thick brown treacle substance', which turned out to be a mixture of nicotine and caffeine.
The jury was told that Mr Price's computer research into poisons resumed in September 2007 - two months before the fire.
During a police search of the couple's property, nicotine residue was found on a bowl, a bread board and a milk pan in the kitchen.
The court was told that Price began his affair with another woman in March 2007.
Price, who lived with his wife in Willoughton, near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, denies attempted murder.
The case continues.