Mum jailed for setting fire to home in Bedfordshire with herself and daughter inside

A mother has been jailed for setting fire to her house with herself and her young daughter inside.

Monday, 15th August 2016, 9:01 am
Updated Monday, 15th August 2016, 10:05 am

The 29-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, started fires in five different locations and set up barricades to hinder rescue attempts.

It was only as the fire took hold that she called 999 before handing her four-year-old daughter to firefighters through a fan light.

She was then persuaded to come out of her home in Kempston during the blaze on May 8.

Luton Crown Court heard how on the day of the incident, she had argued with her partner, had told him to leave the property and had been drinking alcohol.

She then got in touch with a friend and sent a text saying: “I am setting my house on fire.”

Fire investigators found the main fire had been in the bedroom and the stairs had been blocked by a sofa.

Material had been set alight on top of the bed, while smaller fires had been started in the kitchen, by the back door, in the lounge and on the stairs.

She pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered and child cruelty by putting her daughter’s life at risk.

Tim Clark defending, said: “She was suffering with depression and had lost her employment, and was developing a drink problem.

“These factors formed a perfect storm on that night. She endangered her own life and her very much loved daughter’s life and finds that difficult to explain.

“She does not seek to blame others and understands the seriousness of what she has done. She is making real progress in prison.”

Judge Philip Bartle QC, said: “Starting fires in five different places shows a determined attempt to cause considerable damage to the property, and you also took steps to ensure that those who came to save you may be prevented or hindered from doing so.

“You exposed your daughter to an appalling risk. One single match can cause the most devastating damage and loss of life.”