Burnley girl rescued from house blaze - mum admits arson

Burnley Crown Court
Burnley Crown Court

A psychiatric nurse has admitted starting a house blaze in which her nine-year-old daughter had to be rescued by firefighters.

Mother-of-two Paula Ward pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether the life of Millie Ward was endangered, last October 17th. She denied the more serious allegation of arson with intent to endanger life and the prosecution accepted her pleas.

Ward (38), formerly of Greenbrook Close, Burnley, was remanded in custody until February 21st, for a pre-sentence report. Her barrister James Heyworth, who did not apply for bail, told Burnley Crown Court a psychiatric report had already been ordered.

Judge Simon Newell, who said the case had “something of a sad background” warned the defendant: ”You have to be aware, that aside from a medical disposal, custody for this sort of offence is almost inevitable.” Ward, whose family was in court to support her, was led sobbing from the dock.

Millie Ward was rescued through an upstairs bedroom window after the emergency services were called to the property in Greenbrook Close. She and the defendant were treated for smoke inhalation at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and later discharged.