Tees

Asylum seeker targeted in Stockton arson attack

A teenager who set fire to the home of a Teesside asylum seeker has been ordered to be detained for 15 months.

Natasha Shields, 18, screamed abuse as she pushed flaming tissue paper through the letter box of a house in Stockton occupied by a Kurdish family.

At Teesside Crown Court she admitted reckless arson, described in court as an "ugly episode of racial harassment".

Zanko Hamamin and his housemates filmed the attack from inside their home in Camden Street last July.

No-one was seriously hurt in the incident.

The court heard that Shields, of Moorbeck Way, Ormesby, was drunk at the time of the arson attack.

It also emerged that she had a previous conviction for arson for trying to burn down a children's home when she was 12.

Her lawyer, Andrew Turton, described her as a "damaged and vulnerable person" who would benefit from an alcohol treatment course.

Judge Peter Bowers told Shields that the incident, on 26 July last year, was an "ugly episode of racial harassment."

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