Blackpool burglar who climbed into bed of one OAP and set a fire at the home of another has been given a hospital order

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A mentally ill woman who tried to set a fire in an elderly man's home, and climbed in an elderly woman's bed during a burglary, has been detained in hospital.

Victoria Johnson, 46, formerly of Tynedale Avenue, Blackpool, was finally deemed fit to enter pleas at Preston Crown Court after several months, and has admitted arson, causing actual bodily harm, burglary, and aggravated vehicle taking.

The defendant has been detained at Guild Lodge

The defendant has been detained at Guild Lodge

The first incident took place at a 92-year-old man's home on Shipley Close, a week after he had taken pity on her when she knocked on his door asking for water and money.

The prosecutor said: "The week before the arson the victim was at home when the defendant, who he doesn't know, came around at lunchtime. She knocked on the door and asked for a drink of water.

READ MORE: Daughter of OAP torched in her own bed in horrific unsolved arson blasts firebugs as 'a little bit sick'

"He thought she looked pale and thin and he let her in and she asked for money for a taxi. He said she was behaving very strangely, talking about demons and snakes, and at one point had taken her top off and was bare chested.

"Then a week later she turned up again on June 11. He had actually left the door unlocked on that occasion as he was expecting his daughter, Julie Barnes, to attend and take him out to go shopping.

"He said the defendant appeared again and let herself in. She began to complain to him about the mess in the property and screwed a number of letters up, putting them in a plastic bin in the lounge and attempting to set fire to them."

" He told her she was a fool and went to get a jug of water to put it out.

"At this time his daughter arrived and confronted the defendant and asked her what she was doing.

"He described a scuffle and said the defendant picked up a knife. Somehow during the scuffle his phone was damaged. He managed to get out and go to neighbours. The fire service and police attended.

"His daughter gave a statement at the time. She confirmed the arrangement to pick him up. She arrived and could smell burning and came in and saw the defendant.

She asked her to leave, to which the defendant's response was: "Get out of my dad's house."

"She then set fire to a letter which was dropped on the floor."

The court was told Johnson punched the woman when she tried to put out the fire and grab the lighter. She kicked her, grabbed her hair and pushed her fingers into her eye.

Although she managed to get one lighter off her, Johnson got out another and tried to set fire to more letters and a plastic bag .

In a statement the woman said her dad's health deteriorated very fast after the incident, and that she believed it was all due to the incident.

In another incident Johnson stole a car from a woman, whom she tried to bite, and had to be brought to a halt by stingers during a pursuit.

She was revving the car and officers feared they would be knocked over.

In an interview she replied to police questions with "hissing noises" and said she "had never driven in her life".

A second OAP, who is disabled, was left terrified by Johnson's bizarre behaviour when, on January 3, she smashed into her home in the middle of the night.

The prosecutor said: " The defendant peered through the door and the victim asked her what she was doing there.

"She asked for a cigarette.

"She says the defendant went through her stuff and got into her bed in her living room, lay down and got comfy.

"She was so scared because she thought the defendant might hurt her. She managed to get herself upstairs - with no small effort on her part - and waited for half an hour, thinking the defendant might have left.

She added: " She went back down but could see she must have been in the kitchen because lots of food in and around the bed, including cake and chocolate. Her medication was out of its packaging.

"The defendant said to her at this point: "I want to go to hospital".

Eventually police were called.

Johnson made inaudible noises throughout her interview for this offence.

In a harrowing statement, the pensioner said she had lived in her home for 70 years but now did not feel safe and wanted to move.

She described herself as a bag of nerves, and said she now slept in her chair instead of her bed because the defendant had been in it.

Defending, Julie Taylor says Johnson was unfit to plead for a while due to how poorly she was.

Passing sentence Judge Robert Altham described the first incident as an "extremely prolonged and frightening incident".

He adds: " It's inevitable if you cause this amount of violence, upset and worry to an elderly person in their own home it will have an impact on them.

"Whilst I can't accept on evidence that there is a medical link to what happened to him and what the defendant did, it will have had a very significant effect upon him."

He also recounted the incident against the elderly lady and added: "Clearly the offences in this case is tied up inextricably with illness."

He imposed a hospital order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act.