A 44-year-old mum from Stoke-on-Trent has been sent to prison after setting fire to a residential building.
Sarah Salt had believed that her abusive former partner was out of prison and had barricaded herself in her flat - then set fire to the building in a terrified panic.
Salt had been consumed by grief after her partner of 27 years passed away suddenly. During this period she fell into bad habits, including shoplifting and taking drugs.
The court heard that she had started a new relationship, but her new partner - whose name was not revealed in court - had proven to be both psychologically and physically abusive towards her. He breached repeated restraining orders to find her before he was imprisoned.
On October 15, 2022, Salt had been at her home address in Vale View, Newcastle-under-Lyme, when she became increasingly paranoid her former partner had been released from prison, which was not the case.
Counsel Paul Cliff, defending, described her circumstances as 'tragic'. He said: "In October last year her former partner was subjected to a number of restraining orders.
"He had breached the order on a number of occasions. Despite orders of the court he was continuing to breach the orders and to find her.
"She accepts starting the fire, there is genuine remorse on her part and a recognition of the consequences of behaving in this way."
David Bennett, prosecuting, said: "The defendant had been struggling with mental health issues, she had been taking monkey dust. The defendant told her daughter that she thought her ex partner had been growing drugs."
Julian Taylor sentenced Salt to 27 months in prison for arson and reckless endangerment. Despite her 'strong' mitigating circumstances, he was unable to consider a suspended sentence.
He said: "You put yourself in danger and possibly other people at risk, and the fire officers were put at risk. The cost has been estimated in the region of £25,000 and the property may have to be demolished."