Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Winchester man charged with arson attacks

Winchester Cathedral Deanery
Image caption Antique books were destroyed in one fire and the nearby ice-rink was evacuated

A man has been charged following a spate of fires in Winchester.

Fires started at a restaurant, clothing shop and Winchester Cathedral's historic deanery on Tuesday.

Sean Clements, 47, of Jewry Street, Winchester was charged with three counts of arson endangering life, assault and racially aggravated public order offences.

He appeared before magistrates and was remanded in custody to appear at Winchester Crown Court on 15 January.

Around 120 people were led to safety from the cathedral's open-air ice rink when the blaze caused the doors of the deanery to catch fire.

No-one was injured but donated antique books, which were being sold to raise funds for cathedral choristers, were destroyed.

Elsewhere, fire damaged a clothing shop in Parchment Street.

Another fire started at a restaurant but failed to take hold after the chef managed to extinguish it.

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