Birkenhead man jailed for life over grandmother fire murder A MAN who killed his gran by setting fire to her bed while she slept was today starting a life sentence.
Drunken Steven Hampson, 26, used Mary Woolley's own lighter to start two blazes after he broke into her Birkenhead home.
Liverpool Crown Court heard Hampson “hated his nan” who blamed him for his brother Tony’s suicide two months earlier.
Hampson, who had been on an all-day drinking binge, watched as the flames took hold and then fled the Tulip Avenue property, leaving his 70-year-old grandmother to die.
Gordon Cole, QC, prosecuting, told how Mrs Woolley awoke and rang her daughter, Hampson's mother, in a distressed and confused state urging her to come round.
But by the time Angela Hampson and her husband Kenneth arrived at about 1.45am on April 8, 2009, the property was ablaze.
Mr Cole said: “They could both hear Mary Woolley screaming and then she went quiet. The emergency services had been called and Kenneth Hampson himself tried to get into the house but was beaten back by the heat and smoke.”
Firefighters eventually managed to rescue Mrs Woolley but she died the following day.”
Ordering Hampson to serve a minimum of 17 years behind bars, Judge John Roberts told him: “You have pleaded guilty to murdering Mary Woolley, your grandmother. This was a wicked crime, however one looks at it. You saw the fires were lit and then left the house leaving your grandmother to her fate.”
Mr Cole said Hampson, of Alverstone Avenue, Birkenhead, had been drinking with pals since 9am, buying a two-litre bottle of vodka and a crate of lager. Leaving his cousin’s house at 1am to go home he took a slight detour to his granny’s house. Knowing she left her conservatory unlocked he entered the house and went up to her bedroom where he found her asleep.
Spotting Mrs Woolley's cigarette lighter on a bedside table dad-of-three Hampson started two fires.
In interview Hampson admitted: “I don't know what I was thinking.
“ I don't know whether when I picked the lighter up I was thinking I would kill her. I don't know.”
Peter Wright QC, defending, told the court there was long-standing “rancour and acrimony” within the formerly close-knit family.
But the events were sparked after Hampson’s brother Tony killed himself. He said several members of the family blamed Hampson.
He added: “He was befuddled by drink at the time of committing what may only be describe as a complete aberration, which led to the death of his grandmother, for which he must know he will pay a very heavy price.” THE GLOBE