Tuesday, November 20, 2012
A HUNTINGDON mother who tried to set fire to her son has been jailed.
Charlie White had just got out of a shower on January 2 when his mother, Christine White, entered his bedroom at their her Silver Birch Close home and started squirting lighter fluid on him and around the room.
The 42-year-old then attempted to ignite the fluid, but her 18-year-old son was able to stop her, Cambridge Crown Court heard on Monday (November 19).
John Farmer, prosecuting, said that there had been difficulties between mother and son for some time and that White was a chronic alcoholic.
“She had been arguing with her partner downstairs and picked up the lighter fluid from next to the fire before going upstairs,” Mr Farmer told the court. “She started squirting lighter fluid on him and on the floor while saying ‘I’m going to burn your soul’ and ‘I want you to leave the house’”.
He added: “If she succeeded in getting a fire started, not only was there a risk to Charlie, there was a risk to herself. This is a terrace house. Fire in terraced houses are inherently dangerous as it could have spread, so not only was there a risk to Charlie but also to the neighbours.”
In a phone call to the police White admitted that she had tried to set fire to his room and asked “can you just come and arrest me now please?”
Mark Shelley, defending, told the court that White had a difficult life and was struggling as a single mother. He added that the offence happened on the spur of the moment.
A psychiatric report said that White had no mental issues.
White admitted attempted arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered. She was jailed for four years and her sentence extended for five years on licence on the condition she was involved in an alcohol misuse programme.
On sentencing Judge Anthony Bate said: “You are alcohol dependant and it is that problem that got you into a very serious charge.
“You didn’t think things over and put not only your son Charlie but your neighbours at significant risk if the fire had taken hold and spread. If this developed into a fire the consequences could have been tragic.”