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Harlow Woman Jailed for Setting Fires in Her Flat


Diane Wake, a 58-year-old woman from Harlow, Essex, has been sentenced to 32 months in prison after she ordered three bottles of wine and proceeded to set fire to her flat. Wake claimed that she had been drinking heavily and had no recollection of igniting three separate fires inside her property on Great Brays.

The incident, which occurred on 17th September 2023, forced the evacuation of families residing in the two-story building. Wake admitted to the charges of arson while being reckless about whether life would be endangered.

Judge Mary Loram KC, presiding over the case at Chelmsford Crown Court, chastised Wake for her actions, stating, “This was a selfish way of you asking for help.

According to prosecutor Nicholas Bleaney, Wake had consumed alcohol and was intoxicated during the incident. Her behaviour posed a risk to multiple people, including other residents in the building.

The victim’s statements presented in court revealed that neighbours were concerned about Wake returning to her home after the incident.

In her defence, Nick Barraclough, representing Wake, explained that she had no memory of the event and expressed deep remorse upon learning what had transpired. He cited a “degree of a mental disorder” resulting from incidents in her past.

While Judge Loram acknowledged that Wake’s actions were driven by unhappiness rather than malice, she emphasized that innocent members of the public had been put in jeopardy. The judge admonished Wake for her “selfish” and dangerous expression of misery, which had endangered others.

Diane Wake will now serve her 32-month sentence as a consequence of her actions on that fateful night in September 2023.

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