A WOMAN set fire to her council house home after lighting up a hairspray as a 'flame-thrower', a court heard.

Prosecutors said that neighbours claimed to hear a 'big explosion' before the blaze tore through the Oxford house.

Alice Robinson denies arson with intent to endanger life, and an alternative count of 'arson reckless as to whether life was endangered'.

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The 28-year-old of Aldrich Road in Sunnymead, north Oxford, began her trial at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Steven Talbot-Hadley said the incident took place at her home on the night of December 3 last year.

He said that Robinson had been rehoused following a fire at another property in June.

She moved in to the first floor address, which was part of a semi-detached house owned by Oxford City Council made up of four separate bedsits.

On the night of the fire, the jury heard, an acquaintance of Robinson's said he had been to a pub with her, and they both returned to the house together.

He said he remembered the sound of a person or people 'banging and kicking on the front door' and that Robinson was worried those making the noise could get inside.

That witness claimed, prosecutors said, that Robinson then began 'lighting' deodorant and a hair spray.

He said she used his lighter on the spray which was referred to as a 'flame-thrower.'

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Another eye-witness, prosecutors said, heard a 'big explosion' from the first floor window.

One man claimed to have seen Robinson smoking a cigarette at her window before the blaze, the jury was told.

Four fire crews attended the blaze at the home and investigators went on to assess the scene.

Prosecutors said that an exploded aerosol was found at the house along with one that had 'failed to rupture.'

Investigators said that the most likely cause of the blaze was 'deliberate ignition.'

After Robinson was interviewed by police, prosecutors said, she didn't answer any of the questions put to her. Instead she gave a 'prepared statement', outlining her position.

From that statement the jury heard that Robinson claimed she had been drinking with a friend that day.

She said that she was 'very drunk' and left her home after hearing the fire alarm.

Robinson claimed, prosecutors said: "I don't know how the fire started."

She denies all wrongdoing and the trial, expected to last a week, continues.