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Stepmom gets 39 months in prison for burning stepson’s room

A 36-YEAR-OLD stepmother who set a fire in her stepson's room was sentenced to 39 months in prison for arson, Qingpu District People's Court said yesterday.

The woman, surnamed Gong, married a Taiwanese man and was living with her husband and stepson in housing supplied by the husband's company in Qingpu District.

She often had disputes over small matters with the stepson, surnamed Wu, and claimed that he abused her, though the nature of the claimed abuse was not disclosed.

Gong was always depressed and attempted suicide by taking excessive sleeping pills on November 15 but failed in her attempt. She attributed her depression to Wu's actions and decided to set fire to his room, prosecutors said.

The next day, on November 16, when Wu was out, she lit Wu's sheets with a lighter and fled. The fire was extinguished quickly after a clerk called police, but part of the contents of the room were damaged. No one was injured.

Gong's lawyer argued that Gong’s suicide attempt of the previous night had affected her judgment. But prosecutors said Gong's attempted suicide had nothing to do with the arson on the next morning and couldn't be seen as an ameliorating factor to reduce her penalty.


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