Halifax woman jailed for arson attack on neighbour's home

Jailed: AnneCampbell
Jailed: AnneCampbell

A woman described by a judge as "a ticking bomb" has been jailed after she carried out an early hours arson attack on a neighbour's home in Halifax.

Drunken Anne Campbell set light to petrol she had poured through the front and rear lettterboxes of a semi-detached house on Willowfield Crescent and then rang the police to tell them she had started the fire.

Campbell, 54, said she wanted to kill the man who lived at the property, but Bradford Crown Court heard that unknown to her he was in hospital at the time of the attack in April.

Prosecutors had considered an attempted murder charge in the case, but Campbell eventually pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life.

Campbell, of Ashdown Close, Halifax, was jailed for five years, but the Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC also imposed a five-year extended licence period after concluding that she posed a risk of significant harm to the public.

The court heard that Campbell had suffered a traumatic upbringing and her mental health issues had deteriorated following a relationship breakdown in her 30s.

A psychiatrist had identified three mental health disorders, including alcohol dependency and bipolar, and Campbell's barrister Shufqat Khan said she had called a "crisis team" asking for help before the offence was committed.

"She asked them to section her and this was before any of this happened," he said.

"There was a toxic cocktail of issues which culminated on that particular day."

Judge Durham Hall said the arson attack was a desperately worrying escalation in Campbell's offending.

He said she had committed the offence at a time when she thought her neighbour had wronged her and deserved it.

"So at that time you were a ticking bomb in your own way," he added.

The judge said it was clear that even after serving her jail sentence Campbell would need the most robust and intensive support in the community.