A firebug who set blazes which forced numerous people to flee for their lives in Perth has been jailed for 34 months after being captured on camera by a video doorbell.
Shirley Kane endangered lives by setting fires at two buildings on the same day and was identified from footage recorded by the Ring security bell system.
Perth Sheriff Court was told one resident was trapped in her top-floor flat and had to be given oxygen as she waited to be rescued by firefighters.
The woman – who had been taking part in a university class on Zoom – was given breathing help as she hung out of the window after firefighters extended a ladder up to the top floor window at North Methven Street in Perth.
Other residents, including a young family with children, fled as the communal close filled with thick black smoke after Kane deliberately torched items in a cupboard.
Later the same day, Kane set a series of fires at another block of flats a little over 100 metres away.
Her presence in the communal garden was picked up by the Ring bell and an alert was sent.
The flat owner, who was staying at a holiday home in Fife, saw an image of Kane lurking outside the property and she immediately returned to Perth because she was so concerned.
When she arrived, several fires had been started in wheelie bins and boxes and other residents of the six-flat block were escaping from the building.
Kane, who was still hanging around the area when police and firefighters were attending, told one officer she had discarded a cigarette and hoped she wasn’t to blame. However, expert analysis showed the fires had been set intentionally.
Kane, 38, formerly of Elders Court, Dundee, admitted posing a danger to the lives of occupants of a number of flats at 9 North Methven Street, Perth, on September 28.
She admitted torching a cupboard in the communal close and destroying it and its contents, and causing extensive smoke damage.
She admitted endangering lives at 208 High Street by setting fire to a cardboard box and three wheelie bins, destroying them, and causing smoke and flame damage to a floor and carpet.
Solicitor Theo Finlay, defending, said Kane had become isolated after the death of her husband five years ago and her situation may have been exacerbated by lockdown.
He said: “She had been drifting, lasting a number of weeks. She found herself on the streets. The weeks leading up to this just passed in a haze. She was taking drugs.
“It wasn’t her intention to cause harm to any of the people involved.”
Jailing Kane, Sheriff Charles McNair said: “It is fortunate no-one was put in actual significant danger, but it came close to it.”