AN OFFENCE of arson would have entirely avoidable if the young girl involved had been properly supervised, a lawyer claimed in court.
Paul Abraham, defending, said his client was clearly a troubled young girl aged 13 who was subject to intensive supervision – which meant two carers at all times apart from when she was asleep.
But he claimed one of the carers at the private home in the Wrexham area had gone outside for a smoke and the other carer had not stopped her when she obtained matches and set fire to a sheet in her bedroom.
Mr Abraham said the matches had still not been taken from her and she went on to set fire to her bed which was destroyed.
The girl, who has now been transferred to another area, was subject to a secure environment for three months under her care order.
It was a troubling case of a young girl who had been in care since she was four and she had been moved around a large number of different places, 14 in one year alone.
Flintshire Youth Court at Mold heard how the girl had been out, returned to the home in the evening and was hungry. She was insistent and threatened to damage the premises during an argument with carers when she was not given food.
The youth initially went to her room and locked the door. She shouted: “I am going to burn the house down.”
She got into the staff room and picked up items including matches and again said she would burn the house down.
District Judge Andrew Shaw said if she really intended to do so she would have done so without mentioning it twice. A sheet was set alight in her bedroom and it was put out quickly.
She was then not stopped when she set fire to the mattress some time later and the bed was destroyed.
Mr Abraham said he would be complaining to the care standards authority in Wales, alleging a lack of care.
He said the offences occurred not because she was dangerous but so she could manipulate what she wanted?
She was not happy at the home and had now been moved to an area where she was happier.
District Judge Shaw placed the girl, who admitted arson, on a 12-month community order with intensive supervision and attendance on The Phoenix Project aimed at highlighting the dangers of setting fire.
He warned the girl it was the second time she had set fire to bedding, it did not accomplish anything, and if she did it again then she may have to be sentenced as a dangerous offender.