Woman jailed for setting fire to bed which trapped mother and baby in nearby flat

Police said Charlene Hodge endangered the lives of those living nearby Credit: Gwent Police

A woman has been jailed for eight years for setting fire to her bed which trapped a young family in a nearby flat.

Charlene Hodge, 55, pleaded guilty to arson following the incident in July last year. The court heard Hodge set fire to her bed while intoxicated after making threatening comments to her neighbours.

Despite alerting her neighbours to the fire, firefighters had to rescue a mother and baby from a nearby property after getting trapped by the thick smoke from the blaze.

The fire was put out by one of Hodge’s neighbours, but the flat owned by Hodge suffered significant fire and smoke damage and the communal hallway was also smoke-damaged.

The incident happened at Fairoak Court in Newport Credit: Google Maps

DC Glyn Mason from Gwent Police said the fire could have caused fatalities, if it "were not for the swift actions" of the neighbours.

 "Charlene Hodge put the lives of her neighbours at risk. In the heat of an argumentative moment, she made the reckless decision.

“By doing this, Hodge’s actions endangered those living in her vicinity, including a baby and its mother. They became trapped by dense smoke in what must have been a very frightening scenario and were rescued by the fire service."

“The sentence handed down by the court reflects the seriousness of the offences and highlights the potential dangers of fire, particularly if mixed with alcohol", DC Mason added.

Hodge, of Fairoak Court appeared at Cardiff Crown Court and received an eight year jail term - a five-year custodial sentencing with an extended period of three years. 

In addition to her sentence, Hodge will be required to pay a victim surcharge of £170 within six months of her release from prison.