Leigh Park mum accused of starting fire in her own home

Son saved by hero after A27 crash

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A MUM has appeared in court accused of setting fire to her own home and putting lives in danger.

Theresa Frost is standing trial after her two-bedroom council house in Leigh Park was gutted by fire earlier this year.

A jury heard emergency services were confronted by thick, black smoke along Middle Park Way as they arrived at the burning terraced home at about 3am on February 23.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard 47-year-old Frost had been living at the property for 14 years and rented it from Portsmouth City Council.

She and her partner, Gary Brushwood, had an argument on February 22 and the court heard Frost had taken his bank card to buy drugs.

Mr Brushwood went to look for his partner and had to climb through the window as he had no key, the court heard. When she did return, a violent argument ensued, the court heard.

Unyime Davies, prosecuting, said: ‘She began getting angry, telling Mr Brushwood she had had enough of everything. Frost followed Mr Brushwood downstairs and began smashing things in the kitchen and lounge.’

The court heard she threw a plate at Mr Brushwood. She also threw a door down the staircase, the jury heard.

Moments later, Mr Brushwood noticed smoke and went upstairs to find a bed on fire.

He ran to the front of the property and shouted ‘fire’, the court heard.

Frost had walked down the stairs, but Mr Brushwood could not get through the smoke and climbed out of an upstairs window as neighbour, Lorrayne Saunders, put a wheelie bin there to help him.

He climbed back in through the ground-floor lounge window to get Frost, who was sitting on the stairs, the jury was told.

‘She refused and said she was staying to burn,’ said Ms Davies.

The jury was told Mr Brushwood grabbed her arm and Frost fell down the stairs. Frost was eventually bundled through the lounge window with the help of a police officer outside.

The jury heard there was a mini-explosion just before Frost got out.

In the witness box Mr Brushwood professed his love for Frost and said the experience had been ‘scary’.

He said: ‘It’s a fire I nearly died in.’

But he said he did not believe the fire had been started by Frost and denied starting the fire himself.

Reading Frost’s statement to the police, Ms Davies said: ‘I would never deliberately or intentionally cause a fire to my home or endanger anyone’s life.’

The court heard the couple kept candles in their bedroom.

A fire investigation revealed the fire was not accidental.

Frost denies two counts of arson, one for intentionally endangering life and the other for recklessly endangering life.