Ipswich: Judge lets alcoholic arsonist go - so she can get treatment

AN alcoholic who started fires at her flat as a “cry for help” has walked free from court after a judge decided she needed help rather than punishment.

Firemen who were called to Christina Brown’s flat in Bader Close, Ipswich last November found her curled up on the floor and screaming and shouting, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Brown, 43, admitted damaging a lounge and a kitchen by fire and beiing reckless as to whether life would be endangered.

She was made the subject of community order with 24 months supervision.

Brown was also ordered to comply with an alcohol treatment requrirement and to attend a women’s emotional well-being course.

Sentencing her, Judge John Holt said that if he sent her to prison she would probably come out and do the same thing again.

He said the best option would be to provide her with help and support.

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Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said the fire brigade was called to Brown’s accommodation just before midnight and found a man outside the premises who said she was inside and wouldn’t answer the door.

Firemen who entered the flat found a pan that had boiled dry on a hob and a smoking teacloth and three fires on a sofa, carpet and a coffee table.

The fires were extinguished and Brown admitted starting them deliberately with a cigarette lighter as a cry for help, said Mr Crimp. The court heard that she had a previous conviction for arson.

Neil Saunders for Brown said she was a chronic alcoholic and suffered from depression.

n Was the judge right not to send Brown to jail? Comment below.

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