A woman has been jailed for three years after locking herself into her Shropshire home and setting fire to it while a young mum and her three-month-old baby sat next door.
Barbara Holder, who told police she wanted to take her own life because of a troubled marriage and an argument with her son, admitted arson which was reckless with intent to endanger life.
Shrewsbury Crown Court saw CCTV footage which showed a gang of schoolchildren gathered outside the Wrekin Housing Trust property in Bembridge, Brookside, Telford, as smoke billowed out of it on the afternoon of October 18 last year.
Fire crews attended the scene and managed to put it out and pull Holder to safety. No-one was injured as a result of the blaze.
Judge Robin Onions, sentencing Holder, 44, of no fixed abode, said: “This offence is always one which should be treated with the greatest degree of seriousness.
“You were in a depressive and self-centred state. I have considerable doubt you intended to take your own life, but in any case you never gave a moment’s thought to your neighbour and her small child in the house attached to yours.
“If you had, I would hope you would not have done what you did.”
Mrs Janet Pitt-Lewis, for Holder, said the fire was a relatively minor one and but for inaction could have been put out easily using a bucket of water.
But Judge Onions still sentenced Holder to three years in prison and warned her she would struggle to get another home when she got out.
“Housing associations don’t tend to like arsonists,” he told her.
Wrekin Housing Trust said the blaze caused £14,000 worth of damage to the property which bosses will seek to recover through the civil courts.