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Judge Merfyn Hughes praise for fire rescuers at Pwllheli

  • 12-31-2012

Three neighbours who rescued a drunken woman after she set her house on fire have been commended.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC asked for his praise of Christopher Roberts, John Glyn Jones and Jackie Lloyd Williams to be passed to the chief constable.

It took fire crews four hours to control the blaze in Pwllheli, Gwynedd.

Wendy Hughes, 49, admitted arson and was jailed for 32 months at Caernarfon Crown Court.

The fire spread to neighbouring homes and caused £190,000 of damage.

Christopher Roberts was in his bath when he heard the smoke alarm from Hughes's home, heard screaming, and saw flames in the upstairs window, the court was told.

He went into the house and tried to drag her out and she resisted, slapping and kicking.

Finally, the court heard, he went back to his own home to make sure his wife was out of the house.

Nightmares and flashbacks

The two other neighbours, John Glyn Jones and Jackie Williams then entered the house and found Hughes sitting on a sofa. They dragged her, against her will, from the house.

Five separate seats of the fire were discovered in a bedroom and landing, with the remains of a blowtorch found.

Flames had spread to adjoining homes, with the loss to the housing association being put at £100,000, and to the private owner of another house £90,000.

One neighbour, who is homeless as a result of the fire, said his young daughter had seen flames outside her bedroom window, and a window explode, and she now had nightmares and flashbacks.

The defence said Hughes had been appalled and devastated when she realised the effect on her neighbours, who had helped her in the past.

That night she had been distressed and emotional and two and a half hours after the incident was found to have drunk more than twice the legal alcohol limit for driving.

Judge Hughes said the seriousness was not only the damage to four homes and the "significant risk to lives" of neighbours and firefighters, but also the complete disruption of the lives of neighbours, and the fact that children had seen what happened.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2012 BBC


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