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Woman who admits Carlisle arson to be sentenced next month

Carlisle Crown Court

A WOMAN who admits starting a fire at a Carlisle flat has been told she will be sentenced for the offence next month.

Stephanie Louise Johnston, 26, had been due to go on trial at the city’s crown court after denying a charge of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

But during a hearing in front of Judge Brian Cummings QC, Johnston changed her plea to guilty.

She admitted damaging by fire a flat at Willowbank, off Willow Holme Road, without lawful excuse on February 20. The charge states she was reckless as to whether such property would be destroyed or damaged, “and being reckless as to whether the life of others would thereby be endangered”.

Johnston’s barrister, Clare Thomas, spoke of a “small fire” which had been “very contained”. A fire service report, Miss Thomas added, concluded “there was no risk to anybody”.

Judge Brian Cummings QC adjourned the case for the preparation of psychiatric and pre-sentence reports.

Johnston, of Greenmill Road, Longtown, is due to receive her punishment at the crown court on August 23. In the meantime she was remanded in custody by the judge.

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