Suspended sentence for setting camper van on fire

Woman used empty bottle of Prosecco and nail polish remover to set fire to camper van to give sister 'a fright'
Suspended sentence for setting camper van on fire
Rebecca Coates used an empty bottle of Prosecco and nal polish to set the van on firepicture: iStock

A woman who lit her sister's camper van on fire following a disagreement during a hen party has received a fully suspended sentence.

Rebecca Coates, aged 45, used an empty bottle of Prosecco and nail polish remover to light a fire because she wanted to give her sister “a fright”.

Coates, of Corduff Grove, Blanchardstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to arson at Avondale Park, Mulhuddart, on March 10, 2019.

Judge Pauline Codd said the offending conduct took place in the aftermath of a hen party in the city centre during which there was “a verbal disagreement”.

Coates came to the house of the injured party, her sister, and a further verbal altercation took place. Coates told her sister she would smash her face with a hammer and burn down her house with her kids inside.

She returned to the house some time later and attempted to burn down her sister's camper van. She used an empty bottle of Prosecco and nail polish remover as an accelerant.

The fire was spotted by her nephew who managed to put it out. The total value of the damage done to the camper van was €800.

Judge Codd said she took into account the fact that Coates has suffered a decline in her mental health caused by her daughter's suicide in 2017. She noted that the accused has suffered violence at home when growing up and seemed to have been particularly targeted by her father.

She said this was a “quite frankly outrageous manner” to deal with any dispute Coates had. She noted that Coates gave an explanation for her offending that she wanted to “give her sister a fright”.

Judge Codd sentenced Coates to four years' imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in full on strict conditions including that she follow all directions of the Probation Service for two years.

She also ordered Coates to hand over €800 to the prosecuting garda within six months as a token of remorse. She said the injured party can nominate a charity if she does not wish to accept the money.

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