Brave rescuers risked their lives to save a mother who deliberately set fire to her bed while she was lying on it.
Kerry McCrudden had been drinking alcohol after her discharge from hospital when she set fire to her house in Gateshead that afternoon.
Fortunately, the fire was discovered by people nearby and they bravely went in and carried her out.
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The fire in the medium-sized townhouse was limited to the bedroom, but the landlord estimated it could have cost up to £ 15,000 to repair.
Now McCrudden, who has a number of mental health problems and whose mother was killed in a house fire, is sentenced to three years of arson imprisonment for ruthlessly determining whether life was at risk.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the fire broke out on May 30th this year at their home in Ravensworth Villas, Wrekenton, Gateshead.
A man who was nearby saw boys kicking the door and pounding and shouting that it was on fire.
Jane Foley, Attorney General, said, “The man ran upstairs and could see flames coming from the bedroom and heard a woman’s voice from the bedroom.
“A double bed was on fire and the defendant was lying naked on his side on the bedspread.”
The man carried McCrudden outside to safety with the help of another person while a woman covered them with a damp towel.
Miss Foley said, “The fire investigation found that the fire was most likely caused intentionally by an open flame and combustible liquid poured over the mattress.”
McCrudden, 38, who had lived there for three years, pleaded guilty on the grounds that she had just come out of the hospital after a double hip fracture, was given strong pain medication, drank and couldn’t remember what happened.
Defense attorney Rachel Hedworth said, “No other properties were affected by this fire, it was in one room.
“The apartment was not in good shape and not properly maintained, so it’s great to point out that it will cost so much to fix.”
Miss Hedworth added that she had a number of mental health problems and said: “She has suffered more from a young age than many people in her entire life.
“Her mother was killed in a house fire that she had struggled with over the years.
“She used drugs and was a heavy alcoholic. She took solace in them to get through every day.”
In the aftermath of the case, Detective Constable Abbie Young of Northumbria Police said, “Kerry McCrudden not only put her own life in danger when she started the fire in her bedroom, but also the lives of those who ran into the address save her.
“These brave Good Samaritans deserve applause for their life-saving deeds – and I would like to sincerely thank them for their intervention.
“This entire incident was completely preventable, however, as McCrudden knowingly and willingly lit the flame. She now has to deal with the consequences of her actions.
“I would like to thank everyone who was involved in this reaction, including our colleagues in the fire department, who have significantly supported this charge.”
Richie Rickaby, prevention director for the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, praised the fire investigators for putting another arsonist behind bars.
He said: “This defendant was lucky enough to have the two passers-by entered the property – who knows what could have happened if she had not been rescued.
“I’m really proud of your intervention and the work of our fire investigators, and we hope it reassures our communities that we will always be here to keep your safety.”
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