Walsall Christmas Fire: Woman Given Life In Jail

10 June 2014, 14:07 | Updated: 10 June 2014, 14:11

A woman from Walsall has got life in prison after starting a fire which killed her partner of 20 years.

Susan Buckley, from Walsall, was ordered to serve at least 17 years before she can be considered for parole for killing Geoffrey Carter.

Buckley, 57, was convicted of murder at Wolverhampton Crown Court last week after the trial heard how Mr Carter died of smoke inhalation after suffering knife wounds.

Jurors heard that Buckley and her victim, who lived at separate addresses in South Street Gardens, Palfrey, had been in an on-off relationship for more than 20 years.

The trial was also told that Buckley and Mr Carter, 58, had argued late on Christmas Eve last year and early on December 25 about a present she had been given.

Forensic evidence showed Buckley had used a naked flame to ignite clothing at the home of Mr Carter, who died in hospital around an hour after being rescued by fire crews.

Commenting after the life sentence was passed, Detective Inspector Gary Plant, of West Midlands Police, said: "Susan Buckley deliberately set fire to the inside of Geoffrey Carter's flat, after she assaulted him following a further argument between the couple.

"Today's sentence reflects the serious nature of her actions. By doing what she did, she took Geoffrey Carter's life.
"If the fire hadn't been controlled as quickly as it was, the lives of others within the block could also have been taken.

"Susan now has time to reflect upon her actions during the time of her custodial sentence and the impact it will have upon the rest of her life.''