A bridegroom has professed his guilt to causing a fire at Peckforton Castle in Tarporley, Cheshire. The fire caused around £6 million worth of damage to the historic building. Max Kay, from Liverpool, admitted to arson at Chester Crown Court. However, he denied causing arson with the intent to damage or destroy property and to endanger life.
At a previous hearing, the court heard that Mr. Kay had argued with his wife, the staff, and the owners of the building over late payment of the wedding costs. Later on that day, Mr. Kay had argued once again over the cost of the bar bill. The court was informed that Mr. Kay had drunk a considerable amount of vodka on the day of the incident. In the early hours of the morning, Mr. Kay was caught on CCTV entering into and exiting the drawing room, designated for a wedding the following day. Fire investigators later found that the fire had been started when the curtains in the drawing room had been set alight.
One hundred firefighters fought to control the fire at the Grade I-listed 19th century castle. Around 200 visitors, including 11 children, were evacuated from the castle at the time of the incident. Duncan Bould, prosecuting, informed the court that the property’s efficient fire alarm and the actions of the staff ensured that all the guests were brought to safety on the night of the fire. Judge Roger Dutton told the father-of-two that a jail term was "inevitable".
Duncan Lewis’ criminal law solicitors can represent clients facing charges of arson.