Woman remanded in custody after Henry Street arson

  • Christine Arnold has been charged with arson after a fire at her home in February
  • The blaze in Henry Street killed several cats, with dogs being rescued by fire crews
  • Arnold will enter a plea at a future hearing on a date to be fixed

A woman has been remanded in custody after being charged with starting a blaze which destroyed part of her Kenilworth house.

Christine Arnold has been charged with arson at her home in Henry Street.

She’s a lady on benefits who has had problems, and is also a chronic alcoholic

Scott Coughtrie

The charges include intending to destroy or damage the property and being reckless where lives were endangered.

The terraced house - a former post office building which still has the original letter box in the front garden -was partially destroyed after the blaze broke out.

The fire started in the ground floor living room in the early hours of February 24.

The alarm was raised by a number of neighbours at around 5am before the blaze was tackled by three fire crews from Leamington and Kenilworth.

Several cats which were inside the house perished in the fire, but others and three dogs were rescued by firefighters before reportedly being treated for smoke inhalation.

Arnold (54) was due to enter a plea to the arson charge at Coventry Crown Court via a video link from Peterborough jail where she has been on remand.

But her barrister Scott Coughtrie asked for the hearing to be adjourned because the Legal Aid Agency had not yet granted her legal aid for the case.

Mr Coughtrie explained: “At the outset they said she had failed a means test.

“But this is arson in which her whole house was burned down, she’s a lady on benefits who has had problems, and is also a chronic alcoholic.”

The case was adjourned by Recorder Kevin Hegarty QC for Arnold’s legal aid to be sorted out so the hearing can go ahead.

She will remain in custody until this time.

Nobody was hurt in the house fire, which is thought to have started in the ground floor living room and did not spread.

Following the blaze, neighbours along the street helped rescue and care for the pets which ere inside.

They also praised fire crews for helping get so many of the animals out of the property so quickly.

After the rescue, crews were also praised across social media sites and by residents and councillors quick to show support after the incident.

One neighbour said: “To all the retained Kenilworth firefighters; you are amazing and worth your weight in gold. Where would we be without you.”