Search

Finsbury Park schizophrenic torches home after paranoia that estate agents were listening

PUBLISHED: 10:39 06 August 2012 | UPDATED: 09:50 07 August 2012

...

...

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A woman torched her home after she became paranoid that her estate agents had set up a listening post next door, a court heard.

Helen Martin, Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park, stuffed a telephone directory in a toaster and set fire to her mattress before alerting her neighbour to the blaze.

The woman who lived below Martin’s flat had given birth just four days before and was at home looking after her newborn baby.

Martin, a paranoid schizophrenic and patient at the Highgate Mental Health Centre, had already punched holes in the wall using a mallet or hammer before carrying out the arson attack, Blackfriars Crown Court heard on Tuesday (July 31).

The 46-year-old later told police she had started the blaze in her flat to try and rid her home of “the voices”.

Prosecutor Nicholas Alexander said: “She had been hearing voices within her flat and they had been driving her crazy. She was displaying symptoms of her paranoid schizophrenia, thinking that the estate agents were listening from the flat next door.”

Martin pleaded guilty to one count of arson at Blackfriars Crown Court on Tuesday (July 31). She admitted setting fire to her Finsbury Park home on August 31 last year.

But it was agreed she had no intention of harming her neighbours.

Martin was arrested by police later that evening after she threw stones at a police patrol car.

Sentencing, Judge John Hillen said: “What you did was because you were ill and what is important for you and for the protection of the public is to make sure you receive treatment to help you to get better and help you manage your illness.

“This is not a case where a punishment or anything of that kind is appropriate.”

Martin was ordered under the Mental Health Act to stay at the Highgate Mental Health Centre in Dartmouth Park Hill to carry on her treatment.

Latest Islington News Stories

17:55

Lorryloads of commercial waste has started being dumped on the Holloway Prison site after travellers broke in last night.

Islington Council will order an independent inquiry into a former mayor’s alleged links to pro-paedophile groups thanks to a Gazette investigation.

17:58

A man was stabbed during a fight in Hornsey Road this afternoon, less than 24 hours after another man was found knifed half-a-mile away in Stroud Green.

13:09

Islington Assembly Hall has become the first venue in the UK to go completely ticketless in a bid to end touting.

07:00

Islington Council is asking shops to take the lead in stopping the sale of corrosive substances after a spate of acid attacks across London this year.

Yesterday, 16:40

Angel Central bosses want to remove the famous wings sculpture – and replace it with a bridge.

Yesterday, 15:56

Elderly people will attack Islington Council at a town hall meeting tonight (Thu).

Yesterday, 15:19

Islington’s sole competitive swimming club has started a last-ditch campaign to build a pool on the Holloway Prison site.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now