Woman saved from fire after drunkenly setting own bed ablaze while lying in it
Kerry McCrudden, who who has a number of mental health issues, set fire to her double bed at her home in Gateshead, Tyneside, after being released from hospital
A woman who drunkenly set her home on fire was slammed for recklessly putting rescuers’ lives at risk as she was sent to prison.
Kerry McCrudden deliberately set her bed on fire while she was lying on it, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
The mum, who had just been released from hospital, torched her Gateshead home on May 30, Chronicle Live reports.
The blaze was spotted by people nearby, who courageously went in and carried her out to safety.
McCrudden, who has a range of mental health issues, has been jailed for three years for arson. The court was told how the 38-year-old’s mother died in a house fire.
Detective Constable Abbie Young, of Northumbria Police, said after the case: “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 in a bid to rescue her.
“Those brave Good Samaritans should be applauded for their life-saving actions – and I would like to sincerely thank them for their intervention.
“However, this entire incident was entirely avoidable given that McCrudden knowingly and willingly lit the flame. She now must deal with the consequences of her actions.”
Jane Foley, prosecuting, said: “The man ran upstairs and could see flames coming from the bedroom and heard the voice of a female coming from within it.
“A double bed was on fire and the defendant was lying, naked, at one side on top of the bed covers.
“The fire investigation concluded the fire was most likely caused deliberately by a naked flame and a flammable liquid poured over the mattress.”
The fire in the mid-terraced property was thankfully contained to the bedroom.
Landlord estimated it could cost as much as £15,000 to repair the damage done.
Rachel Hedworth, defending, said: “No other properties were affected by this fire.
“The flat was not in a good state of repair and was not being properly maintained so to suggest it’s going to cost that much to repair is fanciful.
“She has suffered more from an early age than many people do in a lifetime.
“Her mother was killed in a house fire which she has struggled to contend with over the years.
“She has taken drugs and been a heavy user of alcohol. She has sought solace in them as a means of getting through each day.”
Richie Rickaby, prevention lead for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, praised fire investigators for putting another arsonist behind bars.
He said “This defendant was lucky that the two passers-by entered the property – who knows what could have happened if she hadn’t been saved.
“I am really proud of their intervention, and the work of our fire investigators, and we hope it reassures our communities that we will always be here to keep you safe.”