Mum put burning card in letter box of boyfriend's Chesterton home to mark annoyance in 'symbolic manner'
MOTHER-OF-TWO Faye Hill who set fire to her boyfriend's home after a row has avoided being sent to jail.
The 28-year-old lit a birthday card and posted it through the letter box at Graham Dunn's address, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.
The burning card set fire to the front door of the maisonette in Elizabeth Drive, Chesterton, which triggered the smoke alarm.
Mr Dunn alerted a disabled neighbour and helped her leave her home.
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And he and another neighbour were able to put out the blaze before firefighters arrived.
But the court heard the housing association property was severely smoke-damaged and the total cost of repairs was estimated at £35,000.
Hill, of London Road, Chesterton, pictured, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered on May 12 last year.
Jason Holt, mitigating, said Hill's relationship with Mr Dunn was 'on-off' and they had argued throughout the evening, when both had been drinking. She went back to the flat with him, continuing some sort of argument," said Mr Holt.
"She was ushered out. It was clear to her at the time of posting the card, not only was Mr Dunn awake, but probably in the vicinity of where it landed.
"She was aware there was a concrete floor, it is not a case where there was a fitted carpet behind the door.
"She had not appreciated she would have caused the devastation that she did."
Mr Holt said the fire was quickly put out before the fire brigade arrived and the majority of the damage was caused by smoke.
He acknowledged it was likely the offence would warrant a custodial sentence, but asked Judge David Fletcher to consider suspending the term.
Mr Holt said: "She did set fire to the card. The purpose was to mark her annoyance in a symbolic manner, and not to set the fire that ensued.
"She is at a low risk of re-offending, there is nothing to suggest she is a danger to anyone."
Mr Holt added that Hill would lose her job if sent to prison.
Judge Fletcher said he could avoid sending Hill straight to prison because there was a lack of pre-planning, a lack of any accelerant used and the offence was committed on the spur of the moment.
He sentenced Hill to two years in jail, suspended for two years, with supervision and up to 60 sessions including anger management and alcohol awareness. She must also pay £3,000 compensation.
Judge Fletcher said: "You made the very foolish and extremely dangerous decision to put a lit greeting card through the door to the property Mr Dunn was residing in.
"You walked away, you did not call the emergency services. It is a very serious case."