Woman allegedly burned down HNZ home

A woman who allegedly burned down a Housing New Zealand property in Greymouth in 2015, did so to get a "speedy transfer" to Tauranga, a jury was told in the Greymouth District Court on Wednesday.

Tamera Stollery has denied a charge of arson on November 12, 2015.

Crown prosecutor Pip Norman told the jury it is alleged Stollery had burned down the Stirling Dr house because she wanted a transfer.

Stollery had been living at the Arnott Heights subdivision with her adult son and wanted to move to Tauranga because she was unhappy in Greymouth.

"On November 11, Stollery visited a friend, Abigail Bennington, and told her she wanted a transfer. They had a discussion and it was suggested if she burned the house down she would get a transfer."

She then went and discussed it with another friend.

"After that Stollery returned to her home, around 1am, and started a fire.

She left her home and returned to Ms Bennington's house and told her what she had done."

When she was alerted that her house was on fire she returned to the scene and gave an untrue account of her whereabouts, Ms Norman said.

After the fire, she was given emergency accommodation in Greymouth before being given emergency accommodation in Tauranga for four weeks.

Ms Norman said that Stollery denied any responsibility for the fire and Ms Bennington told police that Stollery had been at her place for the whole night.

"A year later Ms Bennington admitted to the police she had lied for the defendant and that Stollery had in fact left Ms Bennington's place and when she returned later admitted starting the fire."

On August 11, 2016, Stollery was interviewed again by police and maintained in that interview that she was on the couch at Bennington's and denied leaving the house to see anyone else or set the fire.

Stollery's lawyer Bill Nabney said the first question was if the fire had been lit intentionally and if it was, was it Stollery who did it.

The trial is expected to run for three days.

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