Essex woman denies starting fires in Colchester after rows with partner

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

A Colchester woman caused thousands of pounds worth of damage by starting fires at two houses following rows with her boyfriend, it has been alleged.

Laura King allegedly started the first blaze at a rented two-bedroom terraced house where she had been living with her partner in Priory Street, Colchester, on January 9 last year.

A second fire is then said to have been started at a house they had moved to in Barrack Street, Colchester, several months later on September 5, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Firemen were called to both fires and thousands of pounds worth of damaged was caused to the two properties, said Jamie Sawyer, prosecuting.

King, 24, of Waterside Lane, Colchester, has denied two offences of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.

The court heard that King had been staying at the house in Priory Street with her boyfriend and following a row he had left the property to stay with a friend.

King had allegedly been drinking and shortly before midnight she went to a neighbour’s house and said there was a fire at her house and her partner was inside.

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While her neighbour was calling the emergency services King had gone back into the house shouting her partner’s name.

A fireman who entered the house found King sitting at the top of the stairs coughing and tried to lead her outside but she had refused, said Mr Sawyer.

The fireman eventually got her out of the house and he suffered smoke inhalation as a result of the incident.

The fire was caused by a cigarette on the bed and King told her partner someone must have got into the house and started the fire.

The couple subsequently moved to Barrack Street, Colchester, and following another argument on September 5 King’s partner left the property to stay with his parents.

Later that evening a man working at a nearby shop noticed flames coming from the house and forced his way in. He found King sitting on the floor against a sofa and he dragged her out.

King allegedly went back inside the house and was again rescued by the fire service.

Mr Sawyer said that following her arrest King denied deliberately starting both fires.

The trial continues.

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