Woman started a fire in her flat because she 'did not want to live in Sheffield'

An arsonist has been jailed after she set a fire in her flat because she did not want to live in Sheffield.

Mentally-ill Lorna McDonald, aged 58, of Wilson Road, Broomhall, Sheffield, lit a pillow on her bed in her top-floor flat before alerting the emergency services, according to a Sheffield Crown Court hearing on April 14.

Recorder Darren Preston told McDonald: “You said you did it because you did not want to live in Sheffield.

“There were other flats occupied. Had this taken properly you may have put them in serious risk of their lives.”

A cordon of police tape (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)

Defence barrister Rebecca Tanner said a lighter had been used to set fire to a pillow on a flame-retardant mattress and Ms Tanner claimed the fire was unlikely to spread.

She added McDonald has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and her offending behaviour is linked to the difficulties she has with isolation and housing.

McDonald, who has previous convictions including damage and arson, pleaded guilty to committing arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered after the incident on January 26.

Ms Tanner added McDonald does not have an unhealthy interest or predisposition to fire but this was a deliberate protest concerning her living arrangements though she does want to remain in Sheffield.

She said McDonald had no difficulties until her mid-30s when she developed mental health problems.

Recorder Preston said: “Alerting people or not, it could get out of hand very quickly. Thankfully, on this occasion, it did not.”

He sentenced McDonald to two years of custody.

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