Woman rang police to say she had started fire

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A woman rang the police to say she had started a fire at her rented home in Mansfield but had quickly come to her senses.

The fire service went to the address in Shirland Drive on 20th June and found damage to a skirting board and flooring in the hallway, Nottingham Crown Court was told.

Charred clothing was found in a bin outside, which the accused had placed there.

Joanne Curtis (39), admitted arson and her plea of not guilty to the more serious charge of arson with reckless disregard for life was accepted.

She had lived at the property for just over 10 months and was not in good health, said Gareth Gimson, prosecuting.

Miss Curtis rang the police for the first time at 1.54am that night and said she was not well. She said she had been released from the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham three days earlier.

She rang again a few minutes later and, according to the operator, sounded drowsy and ‘not with it.’

She rang again to report setting a fire but said she had come to her senses and realised it was foolish and dangerous, said Mr Gimson.

Her barrister Sarah Munro said reports suggested she was suffering from various problems.

Judge James Sampson said a psychiatrist had found Curtis had emotional and personality problems but was not likely to start further fires.

The judge sentenced her to a 12-month community order, saying she needed help and supervision.