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Evesham woman sent to jail after torching man's flat
7:10am Thursday 13th September 2012 in News
A drunken woman who set fire to an flat and then had to be rescued after locking herself in, has been jailed for three-and- a-half years.
Michelle MacDonnell drank five pints of cider before setting curtains alight in the home of David Jennings in Hemmingway, Evesham, on June 20.
Neighbours helped Mr Jennings, disabled and in his 50s, to safety before MacDonnell retreated inside and locked the door, said Alex Warren, prosecuting.
Two other neighbours, Marcus Archer and Filip Lawski, broke windows and kicked in the back door and braved smoke to search for MacDonnell. She was rescued by the fire brigade and air-lifted to hospital.
MacDonnell, aged 33, of Battleton Road, Evesham, pleaded guilty at Worcester Crown Court to arson reckless as to whether life would be endangered. She also admitted assaulting decorator Philip Cotterill at Chancers wine bar in Evesham two days before the fire.
Mr Warren said MacDonnell, who had 17 convictions for 49 offences, told police she was depressed and intended to kill herself.
Mr Cotterill was working at the wine bar when he was confronted by MacDonnell, whom he knew had been barred. After a brief exchange of insults, she hit him on the back of the head with a pint glass, which smashed. He had small cuts and he punched her in self-defence.
Andrew Childs, defending, said MacDonnell had left home after her parents died in tragic circumstances. She had formed a relationship with a man and had three children but she was at a low point when it broke up. She had made several attempts at self-harm in a month.
She had been co-operative with police and he said she posed only a moderate risk of re-offending. The offences were the result of emotional fall-out.
Judge Robert Juckes QC said MacDonnell had been in drink when she had hit the decorator. By committing arson two days later, she had put all the occupants of the flats at risk.
He imposed a three-month sentence for arson and a consecutive six months for the assault. She would be on licence once half the sentence had been served and 79 days would be deducted for time spent in custody.