On the day she was set for trial, a Canberra mother has admitted to setting her Housing ACT rental property on fire.
Samantha Gaye Chatfield, 30, fronted the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday when she pleaded guilty to arson following negotiations between the prosecution and defence.
Police documents tendered to the ACT Magistrates Court in June 2020 state that Chatfield fled a fire at her Denman Prospect rental in May.
She later told someone she had accidentally started it when she kicked a jerry can over while burning letters out the back.
Police said her version of events was unlikely given forensic investigators found a petrol container nozzle at the house's rear courtyard, but also a petrol container inside the house and fuel on the floor.
They said there was no evidence of a "pour" or accelerant trail from the rear courtyard to inside the house, which suggested the fire did not spread from outside to inside.
On Tuesday, she pleaded guilty after the legal parties agreed to change the indictment from stating that she "intended to cause" to being "reckless" about causing fire to the building.
Chatfield remains on bail and acting Justice Richard Refshauge added a new condition for her: to co-operate with community corrections officers in preparing a pre-sentence report.
Chatfield is scheduled to appear in court again on September 2 when a new agreed statement of facts will also be tendered.
Prior to the guilty plea on Tuesday, a witness gave evidence during a preliminary hearing without jurors.
Photos of the burnt property were also shown to the court.
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