‘Grudge’ ex-pupil torched school in Clayton-le-Moors

Blackburn Citizen: Kymberley Rowbotham has a five-year ASBO Kymberley Rowbotham has a five-year ASBO

A WOMAN set fire to her former school as part of a ‘grudge’ she had against it.

Kymberley Rowbotham, 23, had pleaded guilty to starting two fires at All Saints CofE Primary School, in Clayton-le-Moors, causing between £5,000 and £10,000 worth of damage.

A court heard how the defendant, of Owen Court, Clayton-le-Moors, had mental health and physical problems and that she had also appeared before the courts after setting fire to the UPVC window ledge at the Church Street school in 2009.

Amanda Johnson, prosecuting, said the latest fires both started in bins within the school grounds.

One caused smoke damage to the school kitchen.

She said: “It was in effect, a situation in which the defendant was bearing a resentment towards the school, particularly when under the influence of drink or drugs.”

The court was told that after starting the blazes, Rowbotham flagged down a passing motorist and asked if he had a phone to contact the emergency services.

Mark Ford, defending, said: “What happened to her when she was much younger at the school has caused her to reconsider the view she took towards the school.

“All of her frustration and anger was bound up in turn with her mental problems, her depression and her dependancy on alcohol.

“Miss Rowbotham is a young lady with profound problems and they really ought to be professionally investigated and addressed.

“She understands the link between these various factors and as a result of having learnt about why she felt the way she did, she feels that this is a chapter in her life that she now wants to close.”

Rowbotham was sentenced at Preston Crown Court yesterday to 13 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, as well as being made subject to a five-year anti-social behaviour order banning her from the grounds and premises of the school.

She was also subjected to a two-year supervision requirement and an alcohol treatment requirement for 12 months.

The defendant must pay £250 in compensation to the school at £20 per week.

Ian Spencer, headteacher at All Saints, said: “We were very lucky that the whole school was not burnt down.

“We are very sad that a past pupil feels that way about our school.

“We support and agree with the sentence and we just hope Kymberley will be able to become the person that we know she can be in the future, a past pupil we can be proud of.”

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