Mum torched Christmas tree in arson attack on her family home in Seacroft after dispute with landlord

A mum torched her family home by setting fire to a Christmas tree during a dispute with her landlord.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 6:00 am

Kimberley Barnett put her neighbours' live in danger by carrying out the arson attack at the rented property on South Parkway, Seacroft.

Leeds Crown Court heard Barnett denied responsibility for starting the fire, claiming she and her children had been staying with a friend at the time of the blaze.

The-mum-of-five told firefighters she believed the fire had started as a result of an electrical fault.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

South Parkway, Seacroft.

She admitted the offence after CCTV footage showed her leaving the house with personal belongings and clothing shortly before the incident.

Richard Holland, prosecuting, said Barnett and her children had been living at the house since October 2019, paying £650 per month out of universal credit.

Neighbours contacted emergency services in the early hours of January 4 last year.

Read More

Read More
'Bully' who brutally murdered his friend at Leeds flat after getting 'fed up' wi...

A fire investigator concluded that one fire had been caused by igniting an artificial Christmas tree in a kitchen cupboard.

The fire did not spread as the flames caused a water pipe to leak.

A second fire was started next to en electrical transformer in a bedroom.

The investigator conclude that neither fire was the result of an electrical fault and must have been caused by a naked flame.

Barnett gave a statement to police in which she claimed she had been staying at a friend's house with her children due to the landlord not doing any upkeep on the property.

She signed a statement which read: "I believe the fire may have been caused by an electrical fault although the fire brigade have told me that it has been deliberately set."

The prosecutor said a neighbour saw Barnett walking down the street shortly before the fire.

CCTV cameras also filmed her leaving with a suitcase and a bag of clothing one hour before the fire.

Barnett, 31, admitted responsibility for the fire when she was confronted with the evidence.

Read more: Arsonist torched vans outside house in Rothwell to pay off cocaine debt to drug dealersShe pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and perverting the course of justice.

Damage worth just over £2,000 was caused to the property.

Mark Foley, mitigating, said: "It was deliberate fire setting and she also accepts she was in drink.

"It was antipathy towards the landlord.

"Her explanation seems to be one of desperation and upset."

Mr Foley said Barnett had been assessed by a psychiatrist who concluded she had a depressive disorder at the time.

Barnett was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Judge Tom Bayliss QC said: "You were reckless as to whether the lives of those in adjoining houses were put at risk."