Woman jailed over blaze at Leeds city centre flats

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A YOUNG woman who set fire to a carpet in a hallway outside her ex-boyfriend’s flat has been sent to jail.

Bianca George, 24, was handed a 16-month sentence over the blaze she started at the Leeds city centre apartments while drunk. A judge told George that only an immediate custodial sentence could be imposed because of the danger she posed to residents who were asleep at the time of the incident in the early hours of the morning.

Leeds Crown Court heard George turned up drunk at the The Point, a three-storey block of 20 flats on Whitehall Place, around 5am on May 30 this year.

CCTV footage showed her sliding down walls as she used her mobile phone outside the flat of her ex-boyfriend David Moss. Mr Moss when not in the property at the time.

George also fell asleep at one point before waking up and kicking the door.

Heather Gilmore, prosecuting, said George then walked away to the lift area and returned around 30 seconds later holding something that was alight. She threw the item into the hallway before leaving. Firefightters were called to put out the fire, which caused around £600 worth of damage.

The court heard George had no memory of the incident but realised she must have had something to do with it when she heard about the fire.

She contacted the manager of the building by email and offered to pay for the damage. But George was later contacted by the police and ended up facing criminal charges.

George, now of Sidney Grove, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Marcus Waite, mitigating, said George had no previous convictions. Mr Waite said: “She is a young woman with a good education and a good job.”

He added that George had now moved away from the area to focus on her career as a result of what happened.

Mr Waite said George had moderated her drinking since the incident and was now fully aware of the danger of binge drinking. Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “This particular offence is a very serious one. Fire is a very unpredictable element. You left not knowing, and I assume not caring, whether the fire took hold or not.”

Millennium Square and Leeds Civic Hall, Leeds City Centre.

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