Clay Cross firebug jailed for starting flat blaze – just yards from sleeping woman

Kelly Clayton. Picture: Derbyshire police.
Kelly Clayton. Picture: Derbyshire police.

A firebug got four years’ jail for starting a blaze in flats – only yards from a sleeping woman.

Mother-of-two Kelly Clayton set fire to a rug on the first floor, carried it down the stairs and out of the premises on Meadow Road, Holmgate, a court heard.

An alarm alerted the tenant in a ground floor flat but his partner was already asleep when the fire was started at 10.30pm on April 29. He roused her.

Then he spotted Clayton, 28, outside in her dressing gown with a bundle of clothes under her arms. She ran off and he then saw the rug still alight in the front garden, said Hannah Whelan, prosecuting at Derby Crown Court on Monday.

It was only a metre from the ground floor bedroom window, where the woman had been sleeping. Her partner got water to put it out.

He then tackled other burning spots before looking up the staircase and seeing a fire on the first floor. The whole of the defendant’s kitchen was alight.

Clayton had used petrol during the incident which left a £39,925 repair bill for owners of the semi-detached house. As well as the prison term, she will spend 32 months on licence when freed.

Judge John Burgess told her: “You represent a significant risk of serious harm to the public.”

The court heard that Clayton had a personality disorder which could be treated by therapy. The judge said she had “made it plain” she did not want to get involved in that and so it was not appropriate to order a stay in hospital.

He added: “You are going to be in prison for a long time. It is time to get the help you clearly need.”

At the time of the fire, Clayton had been on bail for assaulting a police officer and smashing a window in social security offices in protest of cuts in respite care payments. She pleaded guilty to those charges.