Beds, Herts & Bucks

Ex-lover jailed for Hertfordshire narrowboat arson

Kathleen Smith
Image caption Kathleen Smith poured petrol over the narrowboat before setting it alight

A Hertfordshire woman has been jailed for setting fire to her ex-lover's narrow boat as he slept inside.

Kathleen Smith, 34, of Beechfield Road, Hemel Hempstead, was convicted in February of arson with intent to endanger Jeremy Brewer's life.

A jury at St Albans Crown Court had also found Smith guilty of assaulting Mr Brewer occasioning actual bodily harm. She had denied both charges.

She was jailed for nine years with an extended sentence of five years.

It means she can be recalled to prison after her release any time in the next 14 years.

Trapped inside boat

The court had heard Smith was angry that Mr Brewer had ended their four-year relationship in 2009.

At the time of the arson attack, in January 2010, Smith was on bail for assaulting him with a steam iron.

She went to his boat at night with a can of petrol.

Mr Brewer had told the court he had woken to find himself unable to get past the flames and was trapped inside the boat as the fire took hold.

He said he made a 999 call and firemen arrived on the tow path beside the vessel on the Grand Union Canal at Boxmoor to put out the blaze.

Mr Brewer said that when he had first seen the flames upon waking, he remembered Smith's words to him weeks earlier, when she had attacked him with a steam iron and told him, "I will burn your boat".

He said: "I thought she's actually gone and done it."

Smith elected not to give evidence during the trial.

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