Woman set fire to her own home

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A ST Helens woman who had to be rescued after setting fire to her own home has been spared an immediate jail term.

But Denise Lea, who pleaded guilty to arson reckless as to endangering life, was handed a 51-week prison sentence - which was suspended for two years.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how the 48-year-old was living at a rented property in Fernhill Walk, Clock Face, when fire crews rescued her from a blaze on the morning of July 30 last year.

Firefighters from St Helens and Whiston were called to the scene shortly before 9am and had to don breathing apparatus to enable them to lead Lea to safety and put out the blaze.

The kitchen, living room and hallway were left severely damaged by the flames and the entire property was severely smoke damaged.

Fire crews spent about an hour and a half completing the rescue, tackling the blaze and ventilating the property.

An investigation into the cause of the fire was subsequently launched, which found that arson was the most likely cause of the fire.

Fire Marshal Mark Schuler said: “The Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Incident Investigation Team provided the evidence to enable the police to arrest the suspect, who had set fire to her rented home.

“The incident put lives at risk, including those of her neighbours. Our investigations found that the most likely cause of the fire was a naked flame being applied to combustible materials in a rear dining room.

“We investigate the cause of every fire we are called to and help police and the Crown Prosecution Service to build a case against people who have committed criminal offences.”