Leeds & West Yorkshire

Woman who set fire to Deighton house blamed ex-husband

Cheryl McEwan Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Cheryl McEwan also admitted dangerous driving, robbery and theft of a motor vehicle

A woman who threatened to "kill anyone" who evicted her from her council house set fire to it and blamed her ex-husband.

Cheryl McEwan, 34, poured lighter fluid over clothes and rubbish at the home in Glenfields Avenue in Deighton, Huddersfield, on 27 June 2016.

She blamed the fire on her ex-husband when police later found her in a bar.

McEwan was jailed for four-and-a-half years after admitting arson with intent to endanger life and other offences.

Leeds Crown Court heard two days before the fire McEwan telephoned mental health staff and said she would "attack and kill anyone" who came to evict her from the Kirklees Council property she was living in.

'Huge pressures'

On the day of the fire she rang police and and claimed her ex had threatened to burn the house down while she was in it.

Prosecutor David Mackay said she later went to a petrol station and bought lighter fluid before before starting the blaze in the mid-terrace house.

Stephen Grattage, defending, said because of the "huge pressures on her life" she had started the fire to try and kill herself.

He said it was the culmination of a number of offences over a time where her mental health had deteriorated

The court heard months earlier on 9 August 2015, McEwan drove her car into a man in the car park of a children's play gym following an argument with his wife.

Three months later on 18 November, she stole a taxi after shouting at the driver to get out, claiming she had a knife.

Judge Sally Cahill said she did not accept McEwan's mental health problems were the cause of her offending.

McEwan, who admitted dangerous driving, robbery and theft of a motor vehicle, was also disqualified from driving for two years.

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