Search

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

10:39 06 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 News Stories

Alan Cartwright, who was killed in Caledonian Road on Friday

Part of Caledonian Road to be closed so family and friends can remember killed teen

08:35
Teen victim Alan Cartwright

Two people arrested on suspicion of the murder of teenager Alan Cartwright who was stabbed to death while riding a bike in Islington have been released on bail.

Yesterday, 18:00
From left, Sabrina Rush, Dan Cathy and Loren Long

Food fans travelled to Islington from as far as Switzerland on Tuesday to get a taste of a world famous chicken chain which outsells KFC in America.

Yesterday, 17:00
Kerry Whitney with pupils from Ickburgh School

For most people, running one marathon is enough of a challenge.

Most read news

Thousands of people have signed a petition urging Facebook to remove the ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ emoticon options.

#TheDress features in a poignant Salvation Army campaign against domestic violence.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder