Jury discharged in fire trial

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A WOMAN accused of setting fire to her flat may face a retrial after a jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Melissa Sinden admitted using a cigarette lighter to de-snag curtains in her first floor flat in Belmont, Durham City.

The resulting fire caused substantial damage to the lounge, a jury at Durham Crown Court heard.

A firefighter told the court he had to restrain Sinden from going back into the burning flat to rescue her cat, Dave.

Dave was not seen on the night of the fire, but was found alive in the flat a few days later.

Sinden, 41, formerly of The Links, Cheveley Park, denied arson being reckless as whether life would be endangered on March 25. The Recorder, Mr Robert Adams, discharged the jury from giving a verdict after the panel had deliberated for more than four hours.

Prosecutor Adrian Dent applied for seven days for the Crown to decide if there will be a retrial.

Sinden was released on unconditional bail.