A Victorian father of three who set fire to his mother’s house as three children slept inside has been jailed for a minimum nine months.

The Victorian County Court today heard that Jason David Boyes, 29, resented his mother’s commitment to the three children, of whom she was the carer.

In March this year, he splashed petrol on her as she slept and spread it in other parts of her house at Trafalgar, east of Melbourne.

He then lit a fire at the rear of the house and locked himself in a bungalow which he also set on fire.

His mother was woken by the petrol on her skin and escaped the house with the three children.

Boyes pleaded guilty to arson endangering life, arson and three counts of reckless conduct endangering life.

He told police he didn’t intend to hurt the children.

“I didn’t want to hurt them (the children) and was hoping they could get out of the house,” Boyes told police.

Just days before the fire, in a cry for help, Boyes set fire to his mother’s Toyota Tarago van destroying it, the court heard.

Judge Michael Murphy said Boyes had endangered the lives of four people.

“These offences are serious,” he said.

“It was indeed fortunate that your conduct did not result in an injury to any person.”

Judge Murphy said Boyes, who had a major depressive illness, had acted on suicidal and homicidal ideas.

He said Boyes’ illness reduced his moral culpability.

Judge Murphy, sentenced Boyes, formerly of Trafalgar, to three years jail but ordered that he serve a minimum of nine months.

With time already serve Boyes will walk free later this year.