UK: Zim-born woman detained at mental health hospital over arson

UK: Zim-born woman detained at mental health hospital over arson

By The Telegraph & Argus

A WOMAN with mental health issues set fire to a washing machine that led to a “grandfather figure” in her life being rushed to hospital.

Grace Jinjinka, 46, of Whetley Hill, Bradford, was ordered to be remanded and detained at a mental health hospital in Wakefield, at Bradford Crown Court (BCC) on Friday, for arson – reckless as to whether or not life was endangered.

Jinjinka, who moved to the UK from Zimbabwe more than 20 years ago, set fire to a washing machine, as well as other debris and rubbish, that was at the back of a residential property in Halcyon Way, on January 28 last year.

Andrew Stranex, for the prosecution, said a neighbour appeared to see someone come from the garden just as smoke began to rise.

The fire service was called to the scene by West Yorkshire Police at 12.58am that day.

Smoke had engulfed the house and damaged a window that it was propped under.

An elderly man with dementia living at the house was rescued by two members of the public and taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Jinjinka knew the man and she had been using the address during the day with his consent, to shower, freshen up, and for cups of tea, after her and her brother were evicted from their home.

The court heard Ms Jinjinka saw him as “a grandfather figure”.

Ms Jinjinka is currently detained at Newton Lodge – a medium-secure hospital in Wakefield – and has schizophrenia.

Dr Suraj Shenoy, a consultant forensic psychologist who is at Newton Lodge, gave evidence for the prosecution and said: “As you know, the diagnosis of schizophrenia is a long-standing one, she has had treatment for this condition for four years now.

“And Ms Jinjinka’s insight into the illness has been good overall, however she then found herself in a position where she was incompliant.”

Jinjinka told police in interview that she took tablets for her condition every day but last medicated when she was evicted.

Dr Shenoy said Jinjinka’s mental state had “improved significantly” since being at the hospital.

Glenn Parsons, for the defence, said Jinjinka would not receive the help she needs if sent to prison and a hospital order would be “the safest way to reintegrate her back into the community”.

Dr Shenoy said he would expect Jinjinka to spend 18 to 24 months at the facility.

His Honour Judge Gibson passed a hospital order with restrictions under the Mental Health Act in sentencing, which will be served at Newton Lodge.

He said: “I do wish you well with your continued treatment.

“I hope it all goes well and you engage with all your treatment because the more you engage, the better it will go.”