Accused admits causing Waitrose fire in Wellington

This is The West Country: Accused admits causing Waitrose fire in Wellington Accused admits causing Waitrose fire in Wellington

A MAN has admitted badly damaging a supermarket in an arson attack – even though he claims he has no memory of starting the blaze.

Robert James Pitman, 24, was told it was “more by luck than judgement” that no one died in the incident at Waitrose, in Wellington, on July 21.

Pitman, of High Street, Wellington, changed his plea to guilty minutes before his trial for arson was due to start at Taunton Crown Court on Monday.

Judge David Ticehurst remanded him in custody until February 7 pending psychiatric and pre-sentence reports.

He told Pitman: “You may not have intended to cause the damage that you did, but when people set fire to anything, they have no knowledge or control of how that fire is going to spread.

“It is probably more by luck than judgement that nobody died.”

The judge added that all sentencing options were open to him, “including an immediate prison sentence”.

Harry Ahuja, defending, said: “He (Pitman) has no memory of the incident, but he’s prepared to accept the Crown case.

“The fire started in a waste bin and he made it clear to police that he could have set the fire.

“He has suffered from blackout and memory issues in the past.”

The County Gazette and somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news reported in July how the 6.30am fire destroyed half the roof and forced the store to close for a number of weeks.

Nobody was injured in the blaze, which was tackled by dozens of firefighters, while staff were relocated to other branches during the store’s closure.

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