Troubled teen plagued town, torching bins and buildings
A TEEN arsonist responsible for a series of fires in Penzance and Redruth told doctors starting fires was the only way she could deal with emotional problems.
Holly Jehu, 19, is believed to have been responsible for dozens of blazes – and began offending as a youth.
While living in Penzance, Jehu was convicted of a number of offences and sent into custody in December 2011.
Following her release she was given accommodation in Redruth but soon returned to her old ways.
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Jehu, whose address is listed as Chadwick Lodge, Milton Keynes, had previously admitted three counts of arson and two of attempted arson.
She was handed an interim hospital order earlier this year while doctors assessed her mental state.
She appeared at Truro Crown Court on Friday via video link for sentencing.
Phillip Lee, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said on November 8, 2012, she set light to a fire door at Trengweath Day Centre in Redruth, a building which is owned by the North Kerrier Community Mental Health Trust.
She also set fire to a bin at the centre and tried to torch a parked car.
He said: "The receptionist arrived to find the remains of a fire inside the main building ... CCTV showed the defendant attempt to set fire to a car parked in a car park nearby."
Jehu also admitted setting fire to public toilets on Wharf Road in Penzance, which cost £1,000 to repair, on November 23 and then returning to Redruth on the same day and trying to set fire to the family building at the mental health facility. She was arrested that night.
Mr Lee said Jehu had previous convictions for graffiti from 2011 onwards, as well as five for arson.
Consultant psychiatrist Dr Theresa Tattan said she believed a hospital order would be appropriate for Jehu.
"She has made progress but she still has some symptoms of her depressive illness and in my opinion has some symptoms of pyromania," she said. "She describes a rush of adrenalin when she starts fires, which help her deal with her difficult emotional states. She says it is the only way she can deal with difficult emotions."
Dr Tattan described the teenager as a solitary girl whose parents had died when she was very young and advised she be placed under a restriction order, which can be used to protect the public from harm.
She said: "I think Miss Jehu's risk of fire-starting in the future is directly related to her mental disorders and [those] are such that they will require ongoing treatment and monitoring.
Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, ordered that Jehu be detained at Chadwick Lodge under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act, indefinitely.
He also imposed a Section 41 restriction order under the same act, which means if Jehu is released from hospital more stringent procedures will have to be followed than under a hospital order alone.
Inspector Jean Phillips, of Penzance police, said: "I'm really pleased with the result. The fact that she will not be released without due consideration under the Mental Health Act is reassuring."