Thursday, August 23, 2007

Killer arsonist detained indefinitely

An unemployed disc jockey who set fire to a house in London, killing seven people, has been ordered to be detained indefinitely.

Richard Fielding, 21, was sent to Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire under the Mental Health Act after pleading guilty at the Old Bailey to the manslaughter of seven people.

The Recorder of London, Judge Michael Hyam, told Fielding: "If the crime had been committed by anyone with a normal mind, it would have been a crime of desolating wickedness."

Outside court, Kelly Himpfen, 21, the mother of three children who died in the fire, said: "It just goes to show you can get away with murder."

Fielding, from Walthamstow, east London, carried out the attack because of a grudge he bore his former school friend Lee Day, 22, who he claimed had ruined his chances of becoming famous.

He was charged with murder but his plea of guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility was accepted on Monday.

House set alight

Fielding admitted killings Mr Day, his 17-year-old girlfriend Yvonne Colverhouse, his twin daughters Maddison and Rhiannon, aged three, and son Reece, two, Mr Day's mother Sandra, 50, and his grandmother Kathleen, 76.

They died in the early hours of 6 March last year when the three-storey family home in Bellamy Road, Chingford, north-east London, was set alight after petrol was poured through the letter box.

Lee and Sandra's bodies were found in the second floor bedroom where they had gone in a vain attempt to rescue the children.

The only member of the family to escape the fire, grandfather Brian Day, 52, who was rescued by ladder by neighbours from a first floor window before the windows were blown out by an explosion, sat at the back of the court.

Mother lost three children

He was joined by Kelly Himpfen, the 21-year-old mother of the dead children.

She had separated from Lee Day and the children were staying with him for the weekend.

On the night of the fire Fielding filled up a plastic canister in a petrol station and cycled round the corner to the Day house.

Asked by the garage attendant if his car had broken down, he replied: "No, I am going to do a house", but he was not taken seriously.

The petrol can containing Fielding's fingerprint was found in the area the next day and he was arrested.

Orlando Pownall, prosecuting, said: "He seemed elated and buzzing. He was behaving like a small child."

Mr Pownall said: "He said it was revenge. He felt bad. He said 'If it had just been the kids, it would have been easier to say sorry'."

Probation reports spoke of Fielding having paranoid psychosis and narcissistic personality disorder, going back many years.

One doctor said his prognosis was "appalling" and he had little chance of his illness improving.

Fielding denied the attempted murder of Brian Day and the Recorder of London, Michael Hyam, ordered the charge to remain on file.

Mr Pownall said Fielding suffered a severe hand injury during a burglary he carried out with Mr Day and bore a grudge against him.

He believed the injury made him unattractive to women and felt Day had wrecked his dreams of being a top DJ.

It was a resentment which festered and eventually led to seven people, including three children, losing their lives.