Northampton woman convicted over string of offences committed while experiencing 'severe and acute mental health episodes'

Cirnat admitted to arson, racially-aggravated verbal abuse, assaulting multiple emergency workers and owning a dangerous dog

By Jack Duggan
Thursday, 29th April 2021, 8:05 am

A woman was convicted over a string of offences she committed while experiencing 'severe and acute mental health episodes' at Northampton Crown Court today (Wednesday, April 28).

Mariana Cirnat had previously pleaded guilty to arson, racially-aggravated verbal abuse, assaulting multiple emergency workers and owning a dangerous dog.

The 37-year-old, of Camelot Way, Northampton, was released from prison having been remanded in custody since May but was given a two-year community order to help her rehabilitation.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Northampton Crown Court

Sentencing, Her Honour Judge Rebecca Crane told her: "It's clear to me that at the time you committed all these offences you were extremely unwell, experiencing severe and acute mental health episodes that the doctor detailed.

She continued: "It's clear that individually and in combination, these offences cross the custody threshold usually but that means I have to impose a custodial sentence.

"I have to consider rehabilitation, you've already spent time in custody and you are much better now so it's important you get the support in the community so the progress you have made can continue.

"Hopefully you will be able to stabilise your accommodation and mental health to prevent you from offending again."

The arson attack was on May 8 last year when she started multiple fires in a home owned by her husband after taking cocaine - just hours after being released from psychiatric hospital, Berrywood Hospital, the court heard.

Andrew Fitch-Holland, prosecuting, said the fires caused severe damage from the heat and smoke throughout the inside of the house.

She also set alight a sock filled with leaves and threw it into the neighbour's garden after they complained about loud music at around 2pm - the sock immediately extinguished itself, he added.

After being arrested, Cirnat kicked a paramedic in the chest and spat at a police officer before spitting at two other officers in the face while in custody.

She also assaulted two further police officers as well as flicking urine at them and threatening to give them coronavirus before apologising.

While in jail on remand in June, Cirnat assaulted four prison officers both physically and verbally, the court heard.

Six days before the arson attack, she repeatedly racially abused a mental health nurse who accompanied police to her address after she was reported missing.

Just under two weeks previously, Cirnat assaulted two special police constables who had visited her home as they were concerned for her welfare.

Cirnat's first offence was in June 2019 when her Alaskan Malamute bit a prospective new owner on the hand, causing four puncture wounds, a period off work and a psychological fear of dogs.

Mr Fitch-Holland said she had advertised the dog as 'friendly, full of love and happy for walks and cuddles' on an adoption website.

But when the victim and their partner came to meet it, the dog displayed aggressive behaviour and ended up 'clamping around her hand for three-to-four seconds' after offering it a treat, the court heard.

They had to go hospital for treatment and could not work for a period of time while they are now afraid of dogs in public having previously loved them, Mr Fitch-Holland said.

When interviewed by police, Cirnat said the victim had not followed her instructions but she has since pleaded guilty - the dog has since been destroyed.

Cirnat's defence barrister said: "She knows she has taken up so much of the court's time, she looks back at that period with horror.

"She really wants to put all of this behind her and she's taken very positive steps with her rehabilitation and has made contact with her ex-husband and has made arrangements to see her children.

"She's taking a much more mature approach to her life and wants that to continue."

While in prison, Cirnat was diagnosed with bipolar disorder having previously been diagnosed with an anti-social behaviour personality disorder.

Her community order includes a six-month mental health treatment requirement, a three-month alcohol treatment requirement and 30 days of rehabilitation activity and she has been banned from owning a dog for five years.