Friday, 25 April 2014

Man jailed for setting fire to homeless men

A man has been found guilty of murder and assault after he set fire to two homeless people who were living in a lock-up garage.

Stephen Newman, 40, of no fixed address, was found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday of murdering Job Wilding, 41, and assaulting his friend Craig Coterill, 33.

The two men were in a lock-up garage off Gristhorpe Road in Selly Oak, Birmingham, on 23 July last year when Mr Newman attacked them at around 3.18pm. The jury heard that Mr Newman used a gas cylinder to set fire to the two men.

Emergency services were only alerted when a resident who lived nearby noticed smoke coming out of the garage and called the fire brigade.

The two homeless men were taken to hospital but despite the efforts of the emergency services, Mr Wilding died.

Mr Coterill suffered life changing injuries after spending many weeks in intensive care.

Detective Inspector Buck Rogers, senior investigating officer from Force CID, said: ‘This was a truly horrific attack on two defenceless men, who were probably asleep at the time of the attack.

‘Why Newman decided to set light to both men is something only he will ever know or be able to answer.

‘This has been a challenging investigation and I would like to express my thanks to the fire brigade experts and the independent experts who have worked extremely hard to show the court what took place in the garage on that fateful afternoon, together with my staff the CPS and Mr Curtis QC.’

Sentencing has been adjourned for at least six weeks pending a psychiatric report.

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