Angry mum set fire to home of her 'friends with benefits' as she thought he'd gone to meet another woman

An angry mum sparked a blaze at the home of her "friend with benefits" because she thought he had gone to meet another woman.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 12:30 pm
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

Kierra Levitt was left alone in the man's flat when he went out at around 10.15pm on December 19 last year and had ordered them a pizza for when he got back.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard, while he was away, the 30-year-old sparked a fire in his hallway then sent him messages warning "be the last time you tryand mug me off", "watch your house go up in flames" and "you won't have no home left" and got a taxi home.

Prosecutor Vince Ward told the court: "It is clear from the messages that she thought he had met another woman."

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The court heard the delivery driver who tried to drop off the fast food had seen the silhouette of someone in the property, which was above a shop at Thorndale Road, Sunderland, when he tried to deliver the pizza initially but got no answer.

He returned ten minutes later, the front door was open and when he saw the place was on fire he feared someone was inside.

Prosecutor Vince Ward told the court: "He went in to see if she was still there. He didn't find anyone.

"He tried to put the fire out, the fire was in the hallway, just inside the front door.

"He tried to put the fire out using water and a wet towel but by the time he got back to it, having searched the flat, it had grown considerably and he was unable to put it out so he ran out and phoned the fire service.

"When he got out he could see fire by that time had taken over the whole of the doorway."

The court heard the victim, who rented the flat, got back at around 11pm and the fire service were there.

The owner of the property said the flat sustained fire, smoke and water damage and the shop below was also affected and had to be closed for three days.

Mr Ward said there was no figure for the exact amount of damage caused but could be estimated at "four figures".

The court heard Levitt had met the flat tenant over Facebook and he said they were "friends with benefits".

Mr Ward said they had drank alcohol together before the man went out that night.

When arrested the next morning, Levitt said she had been "raging" and "no-one was going to make a mug of her".

Levitt, of Essex Grove, Sunderland, admitted arson being reckless to whether life would be endangered.

Rachel Hedworth, defending, said Levitt has never been in trouble before, has character references and has caring responsibilities.

Miss Hedworth said Levitt's behaviour was "utterly out of character" and accepted the delivery driver "risked his own life" by going into the building to try and save her.

The court heard Levitt has mental health issues and has sought professional intervention.

Judge Julie Clemitson adjourned the case until August 20 so she can be provided with more information about Levitt, her mental health and background.

Levitt was granted conditional bail in the meantime.

Judge Clemitson warned: "I am not making any promises or giving any indication that I have made my mind up of what the sentence will be."

The judge said "all options" would be considered.

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