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Jail for drunk woman who set fire to her flat
12:10pm Thursday 13th September 2012 in News
A DRUNKEN woman who set fire to an Evesham flat and then had to be rescued after locking herself in, has been jailed for three and a half years.
Michelle MacDonnell had downed five pints of cider before setting alight curtains in the home of David Jennings in Hemmingway on June 20.
Neighbours in the block of flats 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 eventually 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 that 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 one month.
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 the arson and a consecutive six months for assault.