A CARER who tried to kill herself by barricading herself into a bedroom in her mother’s house and setting fire to a mattress said she didn’t know her two children were inside the property at the time.

Burnley Crown Court heard Katey Mitchell’s brother and boyfriend desperately battled to rescue her from the fire at Janine Farnhill’s semi-detached house in Briercliffe Avenue, Colne, at 9am on June 29.

When she was outside Mitchell, who was ‘eight out of 10 on the drunk scale’ and had also consumed cocaine, told emergency workers: “I don’t want to be in this world.”

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said Mitchell’s two children, a third child, her partner Deoran, her brother Jack, his girlfriend were all downstairs in the house when the fire started. Ms Farnhill was on holiday at the time.

The court heard Mitchell’s son went upstairs and returned moments later looking scared to say there was a fire.

Mr Parker said Jack went upstairs to investigate and saw smoke coming from a back bedroom.

Mr Parker said: “He grabbed a bucket from the kitchen, filled it with water. He and Deoran ran up the stairs. They could only open the back bedroom door about six inches. They were trying to throw water on the floor through that gap.

“The entire mattress was on fire along with the sheets. They tried to see what was keeping the door shut. They could see the defendant curled up on the floor between the door and the wall.”

Mr Parker said eventually Deoran managed to force his way through the gap in the door but it took him five attempts to get Mitchell out of the bedroom because of the smoke.

As he was getting Mitchell, who was described as being a dead weight, Deoran told the Jack to get the rest of the family out of the house. They attempted to extinguish the fire themselves but had to call the fire service when it began to get worse.

Mr Parker said Mitchell told one fire officer: “I am sorry but I lit the mattress. I don’t want to be in this world. I am only here for the kids. Sorry.”

Mr Parker said: “She went on to tell the paramedics a similar story she told the fire officer. She had started the fire and didn’t want to be here anymore.”

Mitchell, 32, of Skelton Street, Colne, was arrested on suspicion of arson and taken to Airedale Hospital with smoke inhalation.

Mr Parker said while under caution she made further admission to police.

He said: “She said she had started the fire by using a lighter on the bedding. She didn’t want to be here. She didn’t think her kids were present at the time and she wouldn’t hurt them.”

During police interview Mitchell said she had been off work since October 2018 suffering from depression. The night before she went to see some people she referred to as ‘not exactly normal friends’ and took cocaine and alcohol. She described herself as being eight out of 10 on the drunk scale and at some point she had gone to her elder brother’s old room, which was unoccupied, and set fire to the bed, but had not intended to harm anybody else.

Mitchell, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was being endangered.

Defending, Philip Holden said his client had been in custody for 32 days at Styal Prison before she had successfully applied for bail and since her release has been engaging with the drug and alcohol service Inspire. Her family have also paid for counselling sessions, Mr Holden said.

He said: “This was a desperate woman who lit the fire. The picture now is of somebody who has shown genuine remorse, who is ashamed of her actions. She is working with a number of agencies already.”

Judge Andrew Woolman said jailing Mitchell , who he described as an intelligent woman, would not deter other desperate people from attempting to take their own lives in the same way but it would have a detrimental impact on her children, for whom she is the principle carer for.

He added: “In my judgement this is an exceptional case where an immediate custodial sentence would be unjustified.”

Mitchell was given a three-year community order, with a 12-month drug rehabilitation requirement, 40 rehabilitation days and told to complete 200 hours’ unpaid work.