Midhurst arson case adjourned

THE SENTENCING of an arsonist was adjourned after he refused to come to court.

Midhurst man, Guy Binsted, 58, of Poplar Way, pleaded guilty to three counts of arson, including arson recklessly endangering life.

He pleaded not guilty to arson with intent to endanger life, but this has been left to lie on file.

Judge Peter Moss, at Guildford Crown Court, expected to hear a pre-sentence report and psychiatric examination of Binsted on Tuesday (October 23), but he decided to adjourn the sentencing rather than sentence him in his absence due to the complexity of the case.

Binsted set fire to a block of flats where he lived in Poplar Way.

After the blaze on Febraury 23, there is still considerable structural damage to the flats, and 25 firefighters from Midhurst, Petworth, Liphook and Chichester fought to stop the inferno from spreading further.

Residents of the flats were brought to safety and are currently living in temporary accommodation.

The prosecution barrister, Paul Walker, suggested Binsted did not want to get into the van from Highdown Prison as it was too small, and the judge expressed concerns that he may refuse again when the court reconsiders the case.

Binsted originally pleaded not guilty to arson recklessly endangering life, but changed his plea on September 10.

The sentencing has been adjourned to November 13, at Guildford Crown Court, and the defendant remains in custody.