Arbroath woman a “danger to the public”

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Doctors refused to admit a mentally ill woman to hospital despite branding her a “danger to the public” - hours before she torched her flat with her mother inside.

Rada Lace had been spotted wandering down the main A92 road near Carnoustie in the middle of the night on June 3 last year wearing only a dressing gown. She was taken to Stracathro Hospital in a “catatonic state”. But despite medics saying she was a “danger to the public” they said they wouldn’t admit her.

Cops were then forced to take her back to her home in Arbroath and leave her in the care of her mother, Anna Lacis. Ms Lacis told how her daughter had earlier been shouting “unspeakable things” in her car before trying to kick out a window.

Lace later ran out of her home in Arbroath around 3am, returning with two cops six hours later having been found at the side of the road. Later, shortly before the fire started, Ms Lacis said Lace had been: “holding something, as if it was a sword.”

She added: “She had wild, sparkling eyes - it was non-human.

“I couldn’t help her, I decided to leave.”

Fiscal depute Joanne Smith told Forfar Sheriff Court: “A short time later the accused’s mother came back into the living room and found the curtains were ablaze. The accused was standing outside having a cigarette. The mother suffered facial burns trying to pull the curtains down.

“Fearing she would be overcome by fumes she left and alerted neighbours. At 11.54am the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were called.

“Smoke was seen coming from the ground floor flat and the accused was pointed out as being responsible. She was standing 30 feet away apparently in an almost catatonic state. Five other residents were evacuated by the fire brigade.

“She was later taken back to Stracathro and doctors were of the opinion her mental health hadn’t changed and there was no mental health disorder requiring her to be sectioned.”

Lace, 32, a prisoner at HMP Cornton Vale, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of wilful fire-raising. Sheriff Gregor Murray deferred sentence until March for psychiatric reports and allowed a treatment order on Lace to continue until then.