Maria Leanne Timlin
From a Christchurch Press story April 18th 2008
Two people sleeping in a Dunedin house torched by a mentally ill woman had to run for their lives, a judge has been told.
The High Court in Christchurch heard the two escaped without injury, but the house set alight by Maria Leanne Timlin, who was living in a mental hospital at the time, incurred about $50,000 damage. Timlin, 38, who admitted charges of arson and attempted murder, was yesterday sentenced to three years jail by Justice Panckhurst and ordered to be detained as a special patient in a mental institution. The sentence means Timlin, who has spent the past four months on remand in the at-risk unit of Christchurch Women's Prison, will receive long-term treatment.
The judge said that on December 5 Timlin left the ward in Wakari Hospital where she was under a treatment order and went to a house in Dunedin where a man and woman were living. There was bad feeling between Timlin and the man, who had supplied her with codeine medication, to which she became addicted. She made an irrational decision to take his life.
The victims had gone to sleep when Timlin set fire to rubbish bags and curtains inside the house. Once Timlin left, she reported the fire to a neighbour and called 111. The victims had managed to escape, but the house was extensively damaged. "The arson itself was a significant offence and, to my mind, aggravated to a major degree by the circumstances," the judge said.
Lawyer Anne Stevens said Timlin, diagnosed as partially schizophrenic, had a long history of arson, usually burning furniture in hospitals, and substance abuse. She often left Wakari Hospital with the knowledge of staff, but her departures were unauthorised. It was not a secure ward, patients having access to the outside. There was no indication Timlin could manage on the main wing of a prison, and there had been recent attempts at suicide and other episodes of self-harm, Stevens said. The judge said it was Timlin's fifth conviction for arson within a short period. It was a mitigating factor that she raised the alarm, and the inference was the offence was born out of mental illness, he said.
Date of Birth
Arson and attempted murder in Dunedin in December 2007
Had many other convictions for arson, threatening violence and drug related since 1988
Sentenced to 3 years 9 months in April 2008
Also is being detained as a special patient
Parole adjourned November 2012
Has next hearing May 2013
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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