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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Boy, 11, admits starting fire that wrecked classrooms at primary school in Manningham, Bradford

Boy, 11, admits starting fire that wrecked classrooms at primary school in Manningham, Bradford
Boy, 11, admits starting fire that wrecked classrooms at primary school in Manningham, Bradford

Boy, 11, admits starting fire that wrecked classrooms at primary school in Manningham, Bradford

AN 11-year-old boy has admitted starting a blaze that severely damaged a Bradford primary school, and led to it being evacuated of pupils and staff.
The slightly-built child, wearing a smart checked shirt, stood next to his mother at Bradford Crown Court yesterday to plead guilty to a charge of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, at St Cuthbert and the First Martyrs Catholic Primary School, in Scotchman Road, Manningham, at 2.46pm on May 11.
He was allowed to sit at the back of the room, out of the dock, for the short hearing.
The boy, who had a short, neat haircut for his court appearance, pleaded guilty to the offence in a barely audible whisper. He had not requested, as was his right as a juvenile, that the barristers and judge remove their wigs, his lawyer, Jayne Beckett, said.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC adjourned sentence of the boy until Wednesday, October 5, saying it was “a grave crime” that would stay at the Crown Court and not be remitted back to Bradford Youth Court, where juveniles offenders first appear.
Mrs Beckett said the court should order a psychiatric report into the boy, who cannot be named. Judge Durham Hall agreed, stating that he or she should be someone who specialised in juvenile patients.
A report was also commissioned from the Youth Offending Team.
The medical expert and specialist probation staff member will look at why the boy decided to set fire to the school and if he poses a future danger to the public.
The judge made a court order that he must not be publicly identified.
“This is a very serious, very grave and very sad case,” he said.
Addressing the boy’s mother directly, Judge Durham Hall requested: “Can I ask you to make sure that your lad co-operates - open, honest and straight forwardly?”
The blaze, that began in a store cupboard on the Wednesday afternoon, soon spread, leading to flames shooting out of the roof and thick black smoke spreading through the school.



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