Court hears woman started fire after barricade was built in prison

Court hears woman started fire after barricade was built in prison

AN INMATE started a fire which damaged furniture when a barricade was erected at the women's prison at Hydebank Wood near Belfast, a court has heard.

Alana Louise Lewis (28), of Fort Hall, Dundonald - but previously with a Bangor address - was sentenced at Newtownards Magistrates Court (main picture) for arson.

A prosecutor said around 5pm on Saturday January 18 last year four females were asked to leave an 'association hall' and return to cells but they barricaded themselves into a room.

They began "thrashing and wrecking" the room by overturning tables and chairs.

They also smashed items in the room and threw kitchen utensils at windows.

A fire was started in a side room of the association hall and CCTV showed Lewis using a lighter and a cloth.

The prosecutor added: "It appears the whole incident lasted around 45 minutes before staff could regain control and regain entry".

The court was told that although Lewis did start the fire, authorities accepted she was not involved in the other incidents.

The prosecutor said the defendant admitted arson and she was "genuinely sorry for my part in this".

A defence lawyer said Lewis has "managed to turn her life around" after being able to "reassess what is important to her" during her time in Hydebank.

He said she is no longer misusing drugs and has "disassociated from negative peer groups".

District Judge Amanda Brady put the defendant on Probation for two years with a condition that she must participate in addiction counseling and  also ordered her to do 70 hours of Community Service.