ARSONIST Claire Bould set fire to her flat in a cry for help after her partner ran off with her best friend.
The 26-year-old deliberately set fire to curtains in her kitchen in an attempt to kill herself, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.
Motorist Nicholas Walters was driving past when he spotted flames billowing from the property.
He knocked on the window and after ignoring him, Bould opened the door. But she immediately closed it in Mr Walters’s face and locked it.
But Mr Walters called the emergency services and firefighters found Bould lying on her bed and led her to safety.
Judge Paul Glenn yesterday deferred sentence until June 10, giving Bould six months to prove she can change her ways – or she will go to jail for two years.
Prosecutor Paul Reid said Bould lived in a ground floor flat at Broad Street, Leek, and residents of the two flats above were home when she started the fire at 10pm on May 21.
Mr Reid said: “Mr Walters was driving past when he noticed flames billowing out of the kitchen window. He banged on the window and shouted that the property was on fire.
“The defendant opened the front door and then shut it and locked it.
“Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus found Bould lying on a bed. She was removed.”
About £400 damage was caused and no-one was injured.
Fire officers formed the view Bould had been drinking.
And the fire investigator was of the opinion the fire started by a naked flame igniting the kitchen curtain. He added that the fire had the potential to spread and put lives of others in the building at risk.
Bould, who now lives with her parents in Wardle Crescent, Leek, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether the lives of others would be endangered.
Peter McCartney, mitigating, said Bould did not think the fire would extend beyond her own flat. He said Bould’s drinking spiralled out of control after her partner went off with her best friend.
He said Bould had sought help from her GP for her drinking and would take whatever help was offered to her.
Judge Glenn deferred sentence until June 10.
He told Bould: “When you deliberately set that fire, people were upstairs in the two flats above. Having set the fire, you made no attempt to put it out or to contact the emergency services.”
Judge Glenn said Mr Walters was ‘decisive and brave’ and awarded him £300 for his public-spirited actions.
The judge told Bould: “I am satisfied this was an attempt to kill yourself.
“It is of concern to me that despite what happened you continue to abuse alcohol in significant quantities. You remain alcohol-dependent.
“I am prepared to give you the opportunity to prove you are committed to doing something to sort yourself out. If you do not comply you will be brought back to court and will go to prison.”