Woman jailed after starting fire at parents’ home—(This is Wiltshire today)

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This is Wiltshire today

By Wiltshire Times Reporter

5:09pm Friday 24th April 2009

A 45-year-old woman who started a fire at her parents’ home in a drunken rage has been jailed three years and nine months.

Wendy Airey, of Broadwood Close, Warminster, ‘ransacked’ the property after drinking a bottle of vodka on antidepressants before setting light to her mum’s red coat which was hanging over the back of a door.

But the blaze was put out when her estranged parents got home and preventing it spreading through the house, Swindon Crown Court heard on Thursday.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, said Airey and her parents had fallen out a number of years ago and they had taken out a court order preventing her from contacting them.

On Saturday, October 11 the couple went into town to buy some things and saw their daughter on the pavement outside their house.

A short while later Mr Meeke said they got home and spotted smoke coming from inside the living room.

He said Airey’s dad went inside and saw a small fire burning in the doorway to the hall and managed to put it out by stamping on it.

“Clearly there was quite a lot of other damage had been done to the property which is not subject to another charge,” he said.

Airey was arrested after her parents told the police they believed she had started the fire and when officer arrived she said ‘I did it for a reason, I have been expecting you.’ She told officers something along the line that they had deserved it and that she had been upset with her parents for a number of years.

Mr Meeke said “She said it wasn’t planned but was an impulsive thing. She was quite distressed she had damaged the fish tank and the fish had suffered.”

She said she had consumed a bottle of vodka which she had drunk on top of antidepressants.

She said she ‘smashed the place up’ after entering through an insecure door and then started the fire.

Mr Meeke said she told police ‘I saw my mum’s red coat. I burned it with a lighter not to burn the house down. I just wanted to burn it, destroy the red coat’.

Airey pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Alex Daymond, defending, said his client was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the offence.

He asked for her to be freed on a community order so she can receive medical help rather then being returned to jail having spent more than six months on remand.

Judge Douglas Field said: “On the day in question you went to your parents’ house and you for a long time have been resentful and angry with your parents indeed with some of your extended family.

“You consumed a large amount of vodka and you were clearly drunk and you have long standing mental health problems.

“You saw your parents had left their property so you went into their house and ransacked it and then you decide to set light to a coat.

“By good fortune you having left the property your parents returned and managed to put out the fire.”