Hospital sentence for fantasist who killed family in fire

Wednesday 17 May 2000 00:00
Comments

An unemployed disc-jockey was ordered to be detained in a secure hospital without limit of time yesterday for killing seven people, including four generations of a family, in a fire.

Richard Fielding, 21, of Walthamstow, east London, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the Day family on the basis of diminishedresponsibility.

The seven, whose ages ranged from two to 76, died from smoke inhalation after Fielding poured petrol through the letter box of the family home in Bellamy Road, Chingford, Essex, in March last year.

His pleas of not guilty to murder were accepted by the prosecution at the Old Bailey.

The Recorder of London, Judge Michael Hyam, said he was satisfied that Fielding was mentally ill and ordered him to be detained in Rampton high-security hospital without limit of time. But the decision was greeted with anger by family and friends of the victims.

Kellie Himpfen, 21, the mother of three children who perished in the fire, shouted "Evil bastard!" as Fielding was led away. He was also heckled from the public gallery. Outside court, Ms Himpfen said: "It just goes to show you can get away with murder."

Brian Day, 52, the only member of the Day family to escape the fire, said: "He is being given a manslaughter charge when he is a murderer. He murdered seven people. He can be back on the streets within a few years. If that's British justice there is something wrong."

But Judge Hyam told Fielding that psychiatrists agreed he was severely mentally ill. One doctor had said his prognosis was "appalling", with little chance of improvement.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in