A mum-of-three started a fire which left her own children and her husband’s 94-year-old grandmother homeless after taking a cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs.

Lisa Overton, 33, had to be rescued by a hero neighbour after lighting her own bedding and causing a blaze which destroyed much of the house’s first floor.

Black smoke billowed from the family home on December 10 when neighbour Anthony McCullough ran in to the burning building and brought Overton to safety after seeing her calling for help through a smashed window.

Fire damaged house on Fylde Road.(Pic Andrew Teebay).

Police, fire and ambulance services descended on the home on Fylde Road, Southport, when the fire broke out and Overton was taken for treatment at Southport Hospital before being questioned at a police station.

At Liverpool Crown Court, prosecutor Christopher Taylor read out Overton’s basis of plea, which explained that she had hit “the lowest ebb of my life” and was not thinking straight.

It said that she had struggled with anxiety and depression, combined with exhaustion caused by chronic pain condition fibromyalgia.

Explaining the events leading to the fire, Mr Taylor said that Overton’s mother and husband had left the house to collect the children from his parents’ house in Ormskirk.

He said: “While at the other parents’ house, she received a call from the defendant, who asked for a lift to Chorley to see her friend but was denied.

“The defendant said, “Alright, I’ll revert back to what I was going to do’.”

Over the phone, Overton, now of no fixed address, later told her mother “I’ve killed the dogs and set fire to the house”, while smoke alarms were audible in the background.

Her husband called the fire service as they rushed back to the home and in the meantime, multiple neighbours also called 999.

Nicola Cunningham, who lived in the other half of the semi-detached building, had arrived home and heard banging and shouting.

Mr Taylor said: “She could only hear one voice but called the police in case a domestic violence incident was taking place.

Fire damaged house on Fylde Road.(Pic Andrew Teebay).

“Five minutes later, a neighbour came and told them to leave the house because of the fire.”

Around the same time, Mr McCullough also heard the banging and saw black smoke billowing. He heard Overton shouting ‘get me out’ and kicked the door in to rescue her.

No-one else was in the property but Overton said she was scared for the dogs, who Mr McCullough found safe and well in the garden.

A report by fire officers described widespread damage to the first floor, with the bedroom, landing and bathroom all affected. It was estimated that the repair bill will cost thousands of pounds.

A victim statement read out on behalf of the house’s owner explained that the grandmother of Overton’s husband had lived there her entire life and had been forced to move into a care home as a result of the damage.

Overton’s daughters were also left homeless just two weeks before Christmas.

Defending, Peter Killen said Overton had long suffered with anxiety and depression and had been hospitalised through self-harm.

Despite the support of her family, she felt unable to talk about how serious her problems were as “she feared her children would be taken away”.

The impact of having to leave their former home at short notice in June had also left Overton overwhelmed and unable to deal with her own problems.

Mr Killen agreed with a suggestion from Judge Neil Flewitt QC that the trigger for the incident was drinking too much alcohol and prescription medication. He said that no accelerant was used to spread the fire and the risk to other people’s lives was low.

Arguing for a suspended sentence, Mr Killen stated that Overton had no previous convictions, took full responsibility for her actions and has begun dealing with her addiction problems while on remand.

Sentencing, Judge Flewitt said: “At the time you committed this offence you were at a particularly low ebb. You were living with a lot of personal and family difficulties.

"You had difficulties in your earlier life and they all contributed to your problems.

“The combination of drinking too much, taking too much prescription medication and not taking help led you to the point where, it seems, because your mother wouldn’t do what you asked her to, you set fire to your bed.”

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Judge Flewitt accepted that Overton had not intended to take anyone’s life, but warned that she had risked that of those in the neighbouring house and of the heroic Mr McCullough.

He added: “This has been all her life her home and now at the age of 94 she is unable to go back to it.

“Your own children have lost their home as a result of this and they have been disturbed at a time that is significant in their young lives.”

He agreed that there was significant mitigation and genuine remorse, but concluded that a suspended sentence was not possible.

Overton, who pleaded guilty, was given a 22 month sentence.