A 20-year-old woman has been cleared of involvement in starting a fire which caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage in Great Cornard.
Abigail Bolden had denied a charge of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered following an incident at a flat in Queensway on January 12 last year.
Today, following a trial at Ipswich Crown Court, a jury found Bolden not guilty.
After the verdict was returned, Judge Martyn Levett told Bolden that she was free to leave the court.
The court had heard prosecution claims that Bolden, together with a 17-year-old girl who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been present when Shaun Du’Barry Spinks started a blaze using newspapers.
Du’Barry Spinks, 20, of Hawkins Road, Sudbury, giving evidence for the prosecution, told the court that he and the 17-year-old had used sticks to poke burning paper through a cat flap at the property.
The jury heard allegations that Du’Barry Spinks, Bolden and the 17-year-old had been trying the doors of houses and flats to see if any were unlocked, including the flat where the fire was started.
Du’Barry Spinks and the 17-year-old girl pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to committing arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.
The fire caused extensive damage to a first floor flat, forcing the occupants to move out.
Giving evidence, Bolden, of Stannard Way, Great Cornard, denied having started the fire but did admit that she had been nearby at the time.
Bolden said she did not encourage Du’Barry Spinks or the 17-year-old girl as they started the blaze and described herself as a “passive observer”.