A vulnerable woman who set her bedroom alight in a block of flats has walked free from court after admitting to causing arson during a ‘cry for help’.

Shae Taylor was at the ‘lowest possible ebb’ when she started the fire in the building, a court heard.

The 21-year-old made a number of excuses about how it happened but a specialist fire investigator soon located the seat of the blaze in her bedroom at the flats on the Norby Estate, Norby, near Thirsk.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the defendant was in a toxic relationship at the time of the arson in July last year.

Judge Jonathan Carroll told Taylor that the considerable period she spent in custody while on remand was a factor in him suspending her prison sentence in a bid to help her get the support she needs.

He said: “This was more a cry for help out of a sense of desperation whilst being effectively homeless and being in a toxic relationship.”

The court heard how the fire brigade was called the block of six flats where four others were occupied at the time of the arson.

Taylor, of Apple Tree Road, Stokesley, North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered on the day her trial was due to start.

The court heard how Taylor caused £65,000 worth of damage to the block of flats as a result of the fire on July 23 last year.

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The arsonist was sentenced to 21 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to attend 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 150 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Carroll added: “Let’s be clear about this, arson is always dangerous, it’s not just dangerous to you, even if you are the lowest possible ebb.

“You were at a spectacularly low ebb and I’m satisfied that your intention at the time was to cause harm to yourself and not to others.”

A tearful Taylor thanked you judge for passing a suspended sentence.