10 May 2011

Woman jailed for setting fire to church

3:20 pm on 10 May 2011

A woman who set fire to a Porirua church causing at least $300,000 of damage has been jailed for four years and three months.

Amy Bircham, 29, was sentenced in the Wellington District Court on Tuesday on charges of arson and burglary after a jury found her guilty.

Bircham set fire to St Andrew's Church in Porirua in February last year, in what Judge Denys Barry described as a revenge attack as she believed congregation members had been talking about her behind her back.

The judge acknowledged that Bircham's mental illness contributed to her offending, but said her remorse had to be tempered by the fact the case had gone to trial.

Judge Barry also sentenced Bircham to six months' jail on the burglary charge, to be served concurrently.