Woman set fire to bed linen in bedroom at Bluestone unit

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc
Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

While in a bedroom in Craigavon hospital a Portadown woman locked the door and set fire to bed linen in the middle of the floor.

Gwen McAvoy (36), of Thomas Street, admitted damaging by fire the bed linen and common assault on a female on September 6 last year.

She was fined £150 for the arson offence, ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy and fined £75 for the assault.

The court heard that at the Bluestone unit of the hospital a staff nurse discovered that a fire had been started in the room the defendant was in on the ward.

The door was locked but staff managed to get in to discover McAvoy sitting on the bed staring at the fire of burnt bed linen.

She said, “I was only trying to hurt myself.”

The defendant lashed out at a nurse who intervened but no contact was made.

The case had been adjourned so that a short sentence report could be obtained.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said the report showed the defendant had support in the health service so a probation order was not needed and community service was not suitable.

A solicitor for McAvoy said there was a catalyst to what happened on this occasion.

She had wanted to be released but was told she had to stay so she went to her room and started the fire.

Judge Bates said there could have been a serious consequences if the fire had spread elsewhere.