Arsonist jailed after torching historic home in Newport

PUBLISHED: 14:11 03 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:20 03 June 2019

Damage to the house caused in the attack. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Damage to the house caused in the attack. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

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An arsonist has been jailed for 15 years and must serve a further five years on licence.

Philip Day. Picture: ESSEX POLICEPhilip Day. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Philip Day, 55, broke into a 700-year-old property in High Street, Newport, while the occupants were away on December 31, 2017.

In the aftermath, it was found there had been multiple fires set within the property, costing more than £1.7million in damage.

Day was charged with arson and burglary in July 2018 and stood trial at Chester Crown Court on January 2.

The jury heard the incident was linked to a case where Day believed there had been a miscarriage of justice involving a woman, whom he had contacted over social media and begun an affair with.

Damage to the house caused in the attack. Picture: ESSEX POLICEDamage to the house caused in the attack. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

He decided to target a man involved in that case, found out where he was living at the time in Newport and deliberately set fire to the house.

Day, of Saltash Close, Runcorn, was convicted of arson on February 19. He was found not guilty of burglary.

He was also convicted of arson with intent to endanger life and two counts of stalking in connection with a separate investigation by Cheshire Police.

He had made unfounded allegations against a teacher at the University of Chester Academy Northwich and had stalked them and other staff at the school.

Damage to the house caused in the attack. Picture: ESSEX POLICEDamage to the house caused in the attack. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

During that time he posted a number of messages and videos on social media naming the teacher and falsely claimed that children had been harmed at the academy.

It culminated in Day setting fire to the school in the early hours of February 25, 2018, causing extensive damage costing in the region of £2.4million.

Day was jailed on May 31 for four years for the Newport arson and six years for the Cheshire school arson, to run consecutively. He was also jailed for five years for one stalking offence, to run consecutively, and four years for the second stalking offence, to run concurrently.

Upon release, he must serve five years on licence, making his total sentence 20 years.

Detective Constable Christopher Sedgwick, who investigated the Newport arson, said: "Day has caused considerable pain and heartache, not just to those directly involved but to other innocent people who had nothing to do with him.

"He waged an act of vengeance based on misinformation and unfounded allegations. In doing so, he left a trail of emotional and physical destruction in his wake.

"I'd like to thank the victims, who have shown great strength and dignity throughout this investigation and trial, despite the emotional toil it has had on them.

"The sentence handed to Day reflects the impact of his crimes and I hope it gives the victims some comfort that justice has been done."

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