Sobbing Stokesley woman torched flat causing £65k damage and put 'innocent people at risk'

The Norby Estate, in Norby, North Yorkshire
The Norby Estate, in Norby, North Yorkshire -Credit:Google

A sobbing arsonist torched a flat causing £65,000 worth of damage.

Shae Taylor, of Stokesley, appeared at Teesside Crown Court via videolink from Low Newton Prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to arson. The court heard the blaze caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage after she tried to set fire to her bed.

According to the charge, the incident took place between July 15 and July 27, 2023 at Norby Estate, Norby, North Yorkshire. The Apple Tree Road defendant sobbed in court as the case was outlined.

Sentencing Taylor, Judge Jonathan Carroll said he believes the defendant tried to cause harm to herself and said she was in an unhealthy relationship at the time and "effectively" homeless. However, he said the fire put others at risk and caused "substantial damage".

He said: "My suspicion is you were focused on harming yourself more than anything else but it was a block of six flats and four others were occupied. There was risk to other people who were completely innocent and it caused very substantial damage, somewhere in the region of around £65,000."

The court heard following the offence, Taylor made "half-baked" excuses to try and justify the fire, however an investigation soon revealed the truth. Judge Carroll said: "The moment a suitable fire expert managed to get into your flat it was obvious that this fire had been started by you trying to set fire to your bed."

The court heard that had Taylor made a deliberate attempt to cause harm to others, immediate custody would be inevitable - but the act was "reckless" and not intentional. The 21-year-old has no previous convictions and handed 21-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to complete 30 rehabilitation days and 150 hours unpaid work. Taylor thanked the judge and cried as she was spared prison.