A woman who burnt down a unit in Echuca has been released from prison after making a "remarkable turnaround" in her life.
Maree Louise Atkinson was sentenced in the County Court on Thursday to 177 days' imprisonment, time she had already served, plus a 12-month community corrections order after pleading guilty to arson and committing an indictable offence on bail.
Atkinson set fire to a lounge in the unit she and her adult daughter lived in in Garden Crescent on June 11 last year.
The fire spread and caused extensive damage to the Aboriginal Housing Victoria-owned unit, which had to be demolished and rebuilt at a cost of $230,000.
After her arrest, Atkinson was bailed twice but taken back into custody after each occasion for failing to appear at court, and remained in custody until Thursday.
Judge Irene Lawson said Atkinson was struggling at the time and was not receiving adequate treatment to address her mental health issues, although she did not excuse her behaviour.
Judge Lawson noted Atkinson had lived a life of "profound disadvantage and trauma", having experienced violence and intergenerational trauma.
Atkinson has complex post-traumatic stress disorder, an intellectual disability, an alcohol addiction, and a likely acquired brain injury.
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Psychological reports obtained while Atkinson was on remand have informed an application to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, for which she now has a plan.
Judge Lawson said Atkinson had reasonable prospects of rehabilitation with this support available, and had committed to taking it up.
She said Atkinson had made a "remarkable turnaround" from the situation she was in at the time of her offending.
She had used her time in custody productively, Judge Lawson said, and made some efforts to address her alcohol addiction.
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The judge said Atkinson had also shown remorse and was ashamed of her actions.
While on the community corrections order, Atkinson must undergo treatment and rehabilitation for her alcohol abuse and programs to reduce the risk of reoffending.
She will also appear before Judge Lawson again next year for monitoring.
But for her guilty plea, Atkinson would have faced at least 12 months in prison, with a maximum sentence of two and a half years.
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