Suicide bid arsonist is spared jail

News story
News story

A WOMAN’S attempt to kill herself by setting fire to her flat could have endangered neighbours, a court heard.

But after hearing that Donna McCarrick has mental health problems a judge suspended a two-year jail sentence for two years.

Judge Stephen Everett pointed out that her actions had put the lives of neighbours who came to her rescue at risk and also those of the firemen. “There could have been terrible consequences,” he said.

Judge Everett said that it was not the first time that she had attempted suicide but during the last 12 months while in a mental health unit “there has been a real change in your attitude”. He placed her under supervision for two years with a mental health treatment requirement.

Peter Barr, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that McCarrick lived in a ground floor flat in a maisonette block in Tamar Grove, Leigh.

On the afternoon of April 23 last year a neighbour heard a smoke detector alarm and worked out it was coming from McCarrick’s flat. She told another neighbour and they both forced open the door which was locked from the inside.

The fire brigade arrived and found that the door handle from the bedroom had been taken off and once inside they found the fire had been started in a holdall.

The plastic covering of a mattress had also ignited and smoke damage caused to the flat. McCarrick admitted she had started the fire, said Mr Barr.

McCarrick, 44. pleaded guilty to arson being reckless whether life was endangered.

Martyn Walsh, defending, heard that McCarrick, who had a difficult childhood, suffers from a schizophrenic affective disorder exacerbated by alcohol.

Since the incident she has been making good progress.