South Yorkshire woman 'had sex with OAPs before burning their homes'

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A female "pyromaniac" who had sex with men more than 40 years her senior before setting fire to their homes in South Yorkshire has been locked up.

Laura Mallett was drunk and carrying a bottle of cider when she hammered on the door of a 65-year-old man, on Strauss Crescent, Maltby, at 5.30am on December 31, 2018.

The 26-year-old was let inside, despite breaching a court ban on visiting the address, three days earlier, prosecutor Richard Orme told Sheffield Crown Court, on Friday.

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The occupant went upstairs to put on his trousers, but within minutes the first floor was filled with choking smoke and he found himself trapped by flames.

Laura MallettLaura Mallett
Laura Mallett

He only managed to escape by throwing his keys to a neighbour and fled the end-terrace house, which was completely gutted by the blaze, in his underpants.

"He saw the defendant laughing as if nothing had happened," Mr Orme said, adding Mallet’s victim was treated for smoke inhalation.

"There seems to be a pyromaniac tendency so far as this defendant is concerned."

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He said Mallett befriended an 80-year-old man which led to a sexual relationship, but in 2013 started fires in two rooms of his bungalow, on Woodland Gardens, Maltby.

She was sentenced to 30 months in prison for arson, in January 2014.

Another case, in which she placed a jumper on the stove of a 70-year-old man, was discontinued, in October 2016.

The habit of starting sexual relations with much older men and then setting fires to their homes "seems to be a modus operandi," said Mr Orme.

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Dermot Hughes, mitigating, said psychiatrists were unable to identify a specific problem, but ruled out pyromania.

"To some extent she has been exploited over the years," he said. "It might be said they have exploited each other for their own purposes.”

Mallett, of Thornton Terrace, Kimberworth, pleaded guilty to arson on a reckless basis and breaching a restraining order.

Judge David Dixon told her: "When you find yourself in an emotionally-charged situation you have a propensity to start a fire."

He imposed an extended sentence of nine years and three months.