Arsonist who set fire ‘couldn’t give a f***’ about couple and baby upstairs

A twisted arson proudly declared she “couldn’t give a f***” when she was told she could have killed the couple and baby in the flat above her after setting fire to her flat.

Claire Paton set fire to her home in Blyth, Northumberland without a care for the danger she was risking for her neighbours.

When the 48-year-old was told she could have killed the nine-month-old baby and her parents, she replied: “Good”.

Newcastle Crown Court also heard that when she was shown pictures of the thousands of pounds of damage she had inflicted, she laughed.

Paton was jailed for two years and eight months after admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

The court heard that Paton was living in a ground floor housing association flat at Brockwell Court, Blyth, with occupied flats on either side as well as above her.

In the weeks leading up to the fire, she had been behaving strangely – shouting, banging and laughing.

At around 1am on November 14, the family upstairs heard Paton's smoke alarm going off and saw "plumes of smoke" so quickly evacuated their home.

Concerned for Paton, the father went to her flat and enquired about what had happened.

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Paton made up a story about it being "a cigarette or something" but he spotted a fire in her bedroom which looked like a small amount of rubbish that had been set alight deliberately.

Jo Kidd, prosecuting, said: "He said they had a nine-month-old baby and she could have killed them all. The defendant said ‘Good'.

"She then told his partner to 'f*** off' and said 'I don't care’."

Paton had contacted the emergency services and was reportedly foul-mouthed and abusive on the phone, saying she had set her home on fire.

An investigation found she had lit combustible material on the bed.

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When she was arrested Paton said she had been frustrated that the police couldn't help her over an allegation that someone had stole money from her bank account.

Miss Kidd said: "She repeated to the officers that so far as the family upstairs were concerned she 'couldn't give a f***' and began laughing when shown pictures of the damage to the flat.”

The flat needed a full refit costing around £7,000, the court heard.

Judge Julie Clemitson told her: "You had a self-destructive purpose, perhaps, and lost sight of the impact it had on anyone else around you.

"People were put at high risk because of the time of the incident, when they were likely to be asleep in bed.”

Paton has previous convictions for offences including child neglect, theft, drugs, fraud and being concerned in the supply of drugs.

Her defence lawyer Stuart Graham said she was suffering mental health issues at the time.

He told the court: "It's actually quite sad. She said nobody loved her at all and she wanted to die.

"It's a very sad state of affairs.”

He said she was "stressed and distressed" at the time about the theft of her money but is in a better state now.

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