Ipswich woman who started fire in Colchester home causing £34,000 in damage dealt suspended sentence

The fire was started in Barrack Street, Colchester. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The fire was started in Barrack Street, Colchester. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Google Maps

An Ipswich woman who started a fire at a house in Colchester which caused more than £34,000 damage has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Before Ipswich Crown Court today (Friday) was Laura King, 25, of Tye Road, Ipswich, who admitted arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered at a house in Barrack Street, Colchester.

Sentencing her Judge David Goodin said she had started the fire in a terraced house and the prompt action of members of the public and the emergency services had prevented it from being a more serious incident.

He said King had three previous convictions for arson and told her: “You may think you are setting light to a bedroom or a set of curtains and three hours later you have burnt down half a town,” said the judge.

She was given a two year prison sentence suspended for two years, a 40 day rehabilitation activity requirement and an alcohol treatment programme.

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She was also ordered to take part in a thinking skills programme and a women’s programme.

Donal Lawler, representing King, said his client had an extremely difficult background and clearly needed assistance.

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He said she had acknowledged she had a drink problem.

The court heard that King started the fire at the house in Barrack Street where she lived with her boyfriend on September 5, 2016.

On the day in question, King’s partner had left the property to stay with his parents following an argument and described King as being “very drunk”.

Later that evening a man working at a nearby chip shop noticed flames coming from the house and forced his way in through the front door.

He found King sitting on the floor against a sofa in a smoke filled room and dragged her out.

Shortly afterwards King was seen to go back inside the house after telling a witness she needed to go back in despite the fire.

The fire service arrived on the scene and rescued her from inside the property.

The court heard that King had left some tea lights around the living room and had left an iron on at full heat.

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