Student from Sleaford goes on rampage with homemade flamethrower

Sabrina Winfield outside Southampton Crown Court. Photo: Daily Echo/Solent News & Photo Agency EMN-161103-125536001
Sabrina Winfield outside Southampton Crown Court. Photo: Daily Echo/Solent News & Photo Agency EMN-161103-125536001

A student ‘tried to get the attention of her housemates’ by going on a rampage with a homemade flamethrower after struggling to fit in at university.

Sabrina Winfield, 22, of Blackthorns, Sleaford, was given a four month prison sentence suspended for two years after she stormed through the hallway of her student house with a makeshift flamethrower.

Winfield was also ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid work and carry out a 20 day rehabilitation order.

Southampton Crown Court was told on Wednesday Winfield had stayed up until 5.30am blasting out loud music before terrifying her housemates by wielding the device.

The court heard Winfield started behaving “eccentrically” after moving into the student accommodation the month before, where other housemates had already formed friendships.

At 5.30am on October 15 last year, red-haired Winfield rampaged through the corridor of the house in Southampton, with the makeshift flamethrower.

Housemate Ashton Weller saw an “orange glow” and heard “banging” so opened his door - only to see her with the device.

Fearful Mr Weller and another housemate asked what Winfield was doing and she told them: “I’m trying to get your attention.”

Prosecutor Audrey Archer said during the attack housemate Mr Weller “feared for his safety and felt it [the heat] coming in his direction.”

Police were called and Winfield was arrested - the flames had caused damage to paintwork inside the home.

On October 2, less than two weeks before the incident, police were called to the house when Winfield screamed abuse at her housemates and threatened to burn the house down.

On that occasion a housemate was so scared of Winfield they were on the brink of climbing out of the window.

Winfield, admitted a charge of arson for using a makeshift flamethrower in the house.

In mitigation, Alistair Wright, said Winfield, now working as a waitress, had no previous convictions and was struggling with mental health problems.

He told the court: “It was more the fear factor - which Miss Winfield recognises. She was trying to get their attention and points towards someone looking for some form of help.”

Recorder Richard Mawhinney said: “What you did was potentially very dangerous and very frightening. If you do anything stupid like this again within the next two years you will be back here again.”