Worksop woman set fire to her council home the night before she was to be evicted

Lives were endangered when a Worksop woman set fire to her own council home the night before she was due to be evicted, a court has heard.

Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 3:04 pm

Savannah Patterson used a rag doused in white spirit to start the blaze in the living room of her two-bedroom maisonette, on Sandhill Street, before dialling 999 at 3am.

Prosecutor Gary Short told Nottingham Crown Court that 29 adults and six children were present in the four-storey property, owned by Bassetlaw District Council, on May 22, 2019.

Police broke down her door and firefighters extinguished the flames in her living room.

Sandhill Street, Worksop.

Patterson, aged 27, claimed she woke up to find the living room was full of smoke, but a fire investigation the next day revealed the use of ignitible fluid on a rag that was similar to ones found under her kitchen sink.

She was taken to Bassetlaw General Hospital where she told police another individual had threatened to burn her home down.

Mr Short said 'multiple people were endangered,' and more than £10,000 of damage was caused. The court heard Patterson ran up rent arrears of £1,200 and the day before claimed her aunt was due to visit and pay off the debt.

The defendant has no previous convictions, he said, but has been cautioned for dishonesty in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

Chris Brewin, mitigating, said the incident happened some time ago and Patterson's circumstances have since changed.

He said she now has a son, cares for her poorly mother and is holding down two jobs.

Patterson, now of Gladstone Street, Worksop, admitted arson before a trial in March, last year.

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On Wednesday, Recorder Adrian Reynolds told her: "You started this in the dead of night when all the other properties were occupied. The chances of it getting out of control and leading to the deaths of innocent people was considerable.

"Despite the fact this is an open and shut case, you weren't charged until February 2021, and now you come before me, the mother of an infant child, roughly aged one."

Balancing the ‘gravity of the offence against the harm caused by sending her to prison,’ the judge decided against locking her up, 'although you richly deserve it.'

Patterson received two years, suspended for two years, with 30 rehabilitation days.