Teens admit setting fire to homeless man in Barnstaple
- 29 January 2016
- From the section Devon
Two teenagers have admitted setting fire to a homeless disabled man who was sheltering in a sleeping bag.
Exeter Crown Court was shown CCTV footage of a lit piece of cardboard being put on the sleeping bag in Barnstaple's Pannier Market.
The boys, who are both 16-years-old, admitted arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered, when they appeared in court.
But, they denied arson with intent to endanger life.
The Crown Prosecution Service has been given time to consider whether to accept their pleas.
CCTV footage from 2 December showed a figure huddled in a sleeping bag in a corner of the covered market and a group of people approaching him.
A lit piece of cardboard was put on the sleeping bag and was seen burning for a few seconds before a girl ran over, pulled it away, and stamped it out.
Some of the group returned shortly after and placed the piece of cardboard on a wheelchair which was parked next to the sleeping man, who was later identified as 71-year-old Robert Newton.
Judge Cottle adjourned the case and remanded the two boys in custody to a secure unit in Bristol.
A third defendant, Adam Scott, 23, of no fixed abode, is charged with arson with intent to endanger life and is due to appear on 5 February.