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Thursday, January 2, 2014
A Sheffield woman who ‘endangered lives’ by setting fire to her flat in a failed suicide attempt has been jailed.
Emma Saxon – who last year also made a false accusation of rape – penned letters to her mother and boyfriend before taking a lighter to her living room sofa.
Flames quickly engulfed her flat in the apartment block in Myrtle Road, Heeley, Sheffield.
When firefighters arrived they found the 24-year-old shouting for help from a window.
They rescued Saxon from inside and extinguished the fire – which is thought to have caused between £5,000 and £10,000 of damage to the property.
When fire officers investigated they discovered the blaze had been started deliberately and Saxon, who was jailed for eight months last year for her false rape accusation, was arrested.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that Saxon admitted the offence en route to hospital in the wake of the incident.
Beverly Tait, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said: “She said she had a disagreement with her mother and started writing the letters.”
“She had taken paracetamol and ibuprofen with the intention of taking her own life.”
She then set fire to a crisp packet and papers on the sofa.
“When the fire spread she became frightened and started to shout for help.”
The court heard it was not known how many other people were in the four-story block of flats at the time the blaze broke out in October.
The offence came just months after Saxon finished serving a jail term for perverting the course of justice.
Saxon admitted arson after a psychiatric report found she suffers from no reasonable mental illness which would make her unfit to plead.
Amy Earnshaw, mitigating, said: “She is easily led and vulnerable.”
“She was suffering from depression and it was not her intention to harm anyone else.”
“This all stems from when she was a much younger age and she was bullied and beaten at school.”
“She has been bullied by fellow inmates since being imprisoned and is a very troubled woman.”
Saxon, who has been in custody since the offence, was jailed for 14 months.
Sentencing Saxon, Judge Paul Watson QC told her: “I don’t know whether what you did was a genuine attempt to take your own life, or a cry for help against your troubling life.”
“Setting fire to this flat was not going to help.”
“What you did was potentially put in danger other people’s lives.”
“I have a great deal of sympathy for your situation, but I see no reason for imposing a suspended sentence.”