Student went on rampage with flamethrower to get housemates' attention
A student who went on a "rampage" with a homemade flamethrower in order to "get the attention of her housemates" has received a four month suspended prison sentence.
A 22 year old student who was struggling to fit in at her university stalked the halls of her student house with a makeshift flamethrower. She claimed that she created the device because she wasn't getting enough attention from her housemates.
"I felt the heat"
Sarah* had stayed up until 5:30am on the night of the incident, playing loud music. She then terrified her housemates by creating a makeshift flamethrower and walking through the halls using the device. Less than two weeks before this, the court heard, she had told housemates that she would burn the house down.
A housemate told the court that he had seen an "orange glow" outside his room, and heard a banging noise from the corridor. The prosecutor, Audrey Archer, said that the housemate had "feared for his safety and felt it [the heat] coming in his direction."
When he opened the door, he saw Sarah using the flamethrower in the halls, where the fire alarm had not gone off. When he and another housemate asked Sarah what she was doing, she replied:
"I’m trying to get your attention."
One housemate described to the court in Southampton that they were so scared they considered climbing out of the window at that point, but instead they called the police and Sarah was arrested.
Whilst the device used by Sarah was a standard aerosol flamethrower, the above video shows a much more fun (and less terrifying) flamethrower made from lego.
"Looking for some form of help"
The defence council, Alistair Wright, told the court that Sarah was struggling with mental health problems at the time, asking for the court to take this into consideration as a mitigating circumstance:
"It was more the fear factor – which Miss W recognises. She was trying to get their attention and points towards someone looking for some form of help."
The court heard how Sarah had begun behaving "eccentrically" after moving into the house a month before the incident. She had moved in after the other housemates had already formed friendships.
Sarah was charged with arson for using the makeshift flamethrower in the house, which had caused damage to the paintwork. She has been ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid work and has a 20 day rehabilitation order, as well as the suspended sentence.
*Name altered for purpose of keeping those involved anonymous.