Arsonist who posted burning paper through ex-partner's letterbox released from jail after judge over-turns prison term

Northampton Crown Court

Northampton Crown Court

A mother of five who shoved burning paper through her ex-partner's letterbox in Northampton whilst "extremely drunk" has been freed from jail by top judges.

Kelly Elaine Makin, 39, sent flames shooting up the door of her ex-boyfriend's flat after "starting a fire to gain his attention".

He had ignored her boozed-up banging at his door, London's Appeal Court heard.

Makin, of Friars Avenue, Northampton, was jailed for 34 months at Northampton Crown Court in December last year.

She pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered.

Now, however, senior judges have replaced the jail term with a two-year suspended sentence, enabling her to walk free.

Lord Justice Simon, sitting with Mr Justice Holroyde and Mr Justice Soole, heard that Makin was legless on the evening of April 16 last year.

She gained entry to the block of flats in Northampton occupied by her ex, Mark Phillips.

She had shared six bottles of red wine "mixed with spirits" with a group of friends earlier that night.

Mr Phillips, who had known Makin since they were teenagers, was at home, but didn't come to the door when she knocked.

Her "frustrated" response was to push paper into his letterbox and set it ablaze with a cigarette lighter.

When a shocked neighbour came out and confronted her, Makin told her, "get me some water then love."

Her lawyers today argued that showed her willingness to put out the fire and also pointed to her situation as a single mother of five.

Lord Justice Simon observed: "She had started the fire to gain his attention."

But he ruled: "The sentence, following a plea of guilty, ought to have been two years.

"We have fully in mind the gravity of the offence and the risk to the victim and other occupants of the flats.

"But in this case mercy justifies the suspension of the sentence for two years, bearing in mind the term of imprisonment she has already served."