Serial arsonist set fire to her own flat in attempt to force move

Serial arsonist set fire to her own flat in attempt to force move

Kelly Ritchie

Kelly Ritchie

Copenhagen Towers

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Court Reporter

THIS is the serial arsonist who has been put behind bars for attempting to start fires in her home – in a bid to get the council to move her.

Kelly Ritchie made repeated calls to the police reporting someone was targeting her at her tower block flat. But in fact the 25-year-old was setting the fires herself so she could get herself to a new council home.

Southampton Crown Court heard how Ritchie told police that she returned home to her flat in Copenhagen Towers in Weston, one night to find an envelope which had been set alight as well as two cigarette butts.

Police took them away for examination and from DNA found on them, they arrested her neighbour who was detained overnight in the cells before being released without charge.

Two weeks later, Ritchie called police again to say lit paper had been put through her door when she was having a shower.

Following that incident, Southampton City Council installed a covert camera without Ritchie knowing. When she again claimed smouldering paper had been pushed through her letterbox, the footage was examined by police.

Prosecutor Tom Wright told how when police examined the footage, they realised no one had been in the area at the time of the supposed arson attack and suspicion immediately fell on her.

She was arrested but refused to answer questions.

In court, Ritchie pleaded guilty to arson and attempting to pervert the course of justice and was jailed for 15 months.

In mitigation, Richard Martin said Ritchie had acted wholly out of character.

At the time she had been suffering from the death of her father and undiagnosed low level mental health issues. She was now being treated for depression.

She had been the victim of anti-social behaviour and wasn’t thinking rationally as things got on top of her. These were very small fires and what she did was appalling. It wasn’t a personal vendetta. It had all the hallmarks of a cry for help.”

Comments (14)

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6:43am Sat 30 Aug 14

Huey says...

What a stupid woman. Enjoy jail you moron.
What a stupid woman. Enjoy jail you moron. Huey
  • Score: 9

6:53am Sat 30 Aug 14

Woolston ollie says...

She looks clever
She looks clever Woolston ollie
  • Score: 10

6:53am Sat 30 Aug 14

loosehead says...

"Cry for help" more like I want a move I'll get a move syndrome to me
"Cry for help" more like I want a move I'll get a move syndrome to me loosehead
  • Score: 7

8:46am Sat 30 Aug 14

oooarrr says...

Well, she got her move, She don't look to happy about it though!
Well, she got her move, She don't look to happy about it though! oooarrr
  • Score: 12

8:48am Sat 30 Aug 14

oooarrr says...

oooarrr wrote:
Well, she got her move, She don't look to happy about it though!
too, not to, dyslexic kyebaord
[quote][p][bold]oooarrr[/bold] wrote: Well, she got her move, She don't look to happy about it though![/p][/quote]too, not to, dyslexic kyebaord oooarrr
  • Score: 2

8:50am Sat 30 Aug 14

Kirsty666 says...

Benefits and social housing gotta love the scum of society
Benefits and social housing gotta love the scum of society Kirsty666
  • Score: 7

8:56am Sat 30 Aug 14

oooarrr says...

Yes Kirsty666, but you must remember, they didn't ask to be born so we owe them.
Yes Kirsty666, but you must remember, they didn't ask to be born so we owe them. oooarrr
  • Score: -8

10:35am Sat 30 Aug 14

mickey01 says...

Why do they always play the death in the family routine ?
Why do they always play the death in the family routine ? mickey01
  • Score: 0

11:04am Sat 30 Aug 14

solomum says...

Kirsty666 wrote:
Benefits and social housing gotta love the scum of society
You may find yourself in need of benefits and social housing one day. Go careful because from the height you seem to be it will a long way down.
[quote][p][bold]Kirsty666[/bold] wrote: Benefits and social housing gotta love the scum of society[/p][/quote]You may find yourself in need of benefits and social housing one day. Go careful because from the height you seem to be it will a long way down. solomum
  • Score: -5

12:26pm Sat 30 Aug 14

mickey01 says...

solomum wrote:
Kirsty666 wrote:
Benefits and social housing gotta love the scum of society
You may find yourself in need of benefits and social housing one day. Go careful because from the height you seem to be it will a long way down.
there is needing it and there is taking the p**s out of it as many seem to do so get real
[quote][p][bold]solomum[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kirsty666[/bold] wrote: Benefits and social housing gotta love the scum of society[/p][/quote]You may find yourself in need of benefits and social housing one day. Go careful because from the height you seem to be it will a long way down.[/p][/quote]there is needing it and there is taking the p**s out of it as many seem to do so get real mickey01
  • Score: 6

12:52pm Sat 30 Aug 14

IronLady2010 says...

solomum wrote:
Kirsty666 wrote:
Benefits and social housing gotta love the scum of society
You may find yourself in need of benefits and social housing one day. Go careful because from the height you seem to be it will a long way down.
You make a very valid point.

We never know when we may need to rely on benefits and social housing, but it does appear many people think these are for life not just during hard times.
[quote][p][bold]solomum[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kirsty666[/bold] wrote: Benefits and social housing gotta love the scum of society[/p][/quote]You may find yourself in need of benefits and social housing one day. Go careful because from the height you seem to be it will a long way down.[/p][/quote]You make a very valid point. We never know when we may need to rely on benefits and social housing, but it does appear many people think these are for life not just during hard times. IronLady2010
  • Score: 14

2:05pm Sat 30 Aug 14

Kirsty666 says...

solomum wrote:
Kirsty666 wrote:
Benefits and social housing gotta love the scum of society
You may find yourself in need of benefits and social housing one day. Go careful because from the height you seem to be it will a long way down.
The problem is you can see looking at her she thinks benefits are for life and everything should be handed to her yes I know it's a vague opinion but trying to set her flat on fire to get moved to a bigger place I work so does my partner with children pay my way in life always have and always will. My partners aunt who also works self employed couldn't even get benefits for just 3 months because she had no work the job centre said she didn't qualify and she has children under 16
[quote][p][bold]solomum[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kirsty666[/bold] wrote: Benefits and social housing gotta love the scum of society[/p][/quote]You may find yourself in need of benefits and social housing one day. Go careful because from the height you seem to be it will a long way down.[/p][/quote]The problem is you can see looking at her she thinks benefits are for life and everything should be handed to her yes I know it's a vague opinion but trying to set her flat on fire to get moved to a bigger place I work so does my partner with children pay my way in life always have and always will. My partners aunt who also works self employed couldn't even get benefits for just 3 months because she had no work the job centre said she didn't qualify and she has children under 16 Kirsty666
  • Score: 11

3:00pm Sat 30 Aug 14

Graham, North of Watford says...

The essential factor not mentioned in this case is that she was putting other people's lives at risk. Particularly her neighbours and members of the Fire Brigade.

There were 2 firemen killed in Stevenage a few years ago which caused a lot of heartbreak locally and don't I recall the death of some firefighters a bit more recently in Southampton?

Can't quite remember
The essential factor not mentioned in this case is that she was putting other people's lives at risk. Particularly her neighbours and members of the Fire Brigade. There were 2 firemen killed in Stevenage a few years ago which caused a lot of heartbreak locally and don't I recall the death of some firefighters a bit more recently in Southampton? Can't quite remember Graham, North of Watford
  • Score: 13

3:30pm Sat 30 Aug 14

IronLady2010 says...

Graham, North of Watford wrote:
The essential factor not mentioned in this case is that she was putting other people's lives at risk. Particularly her neighbours and members of the Fire Brigade.

There were 2 firemen killed in Stevenage a few years ago which caused a lot of heartbreak locally and don't I recall the death of some firefighters a bit more recently in Southampton?

Can't quite remember
You mean Shirley Towers.

Thoughts to those involved in that. xxxxx
[quote][p][bold]Graham, North of Watford[/bold] wrote: The essential factor not mentioned in this case is that she was putting other people's lives at risk. Particularly her neighbours and members of the Fire Brigade. There were 2 firemen killed in Stevenage a few years ago which caused a lot of heartbreak locally and don't I recall the death of some firefighters a bit more recently in Southampton? Can't quite remember[/p][/quote]You mean Shirley Towers. Thoughts to those involved in that. xxxxx IronLady2010
  • Score: 16

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