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Woman jailed for torching her flat in Quarry Spring

Communities / Tue 7th Oct 2014 pm31 08:24pm

A WOMAN who torched her council home just a fortnight after moving in because she ‘didn’t like her new neighbours’ comparing her new estate to TV show Shameless has been jailed.

Leesa Wenman moved into her new home in Harlow, Essex, at the end of July last year after being rehoused by Harlow District Council but in under a fortnight was having rows with neighbours.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how the 32-year-old was arrested soon after her flat burst into flames on August 6 – just a fortnight after she moved in.

The court heard how neighbours called 999 when they spotted plumes of smoke coming out of Wenman’s flat window and that it took firemen 30 minutes to douse the flames, which caused £20,000-worth of damage.

Neighbours believed that Wenham, a mother-of-one, was still in the flat and broke down the door to rescue her.
But she had climbed out of the window after starting two fires in her bedroom and gone to stay with a friend in Stile Croft a mile away but was arrested soon afterwards.

Carolyn Gardiner, prosecuting, told the court that Wenman was ‘not happy’ with her new home and said she had argued with neighbours just before the blaze started.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told Wenman has more than 80 previous convictions, most of them for dishonesty but 19 for failing to obey court orders and she was jailed for 30 months.

Wenman would have been sentenced to seven years in jail but for her diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease in 2009.
Miss Dowse added: ‘The defendant’s concern is that while she serves any sentence her physical condition may deteriorate to the extent she will not recognise her daughter, who is 10 soon, or interact with her when she is released.’

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