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Northwich school arsonist Philip Day's 'sex abuse' obsession

Philip Day Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Philip Day was convicted of arson and stalking

A man has been found guilty of burning down a school following an obsession about an unsubstantiated sex abuse "cover-up".

Philip Day "waged a crusade" against the University of Chester Academy Northwich (UCAN) in Cheshire, stalking teachers and claiming on social media it was a "playground for paedophiles".

Six years after he made sex abuse claims, Day torched the school's roof.

Day, 55, of Runcorn, was found guilty of two counts of arson.

He was also convicted of two counts of stalking at Chester Crown Court.

The school was set alight in February 2018 when Day climbed on to the roof and removed tiles so he could pour petrol inside, causing £2.4m worth of damage.

Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Philip Day "waged a crusade" against the University of Chester Academy Northwich in Cheshire

Cheshire Police said no evidence was found to corroborate Day's claims.

After his arrest, police in Essex questioned and charged Day in connection with a December 2017 fire at a house in Saffron Walden belonging to a man involved in a sex abuse case in which he believed there had been a miscarriage of justice.

Day was found guilty of one count of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, one count of arson and two counts of stalking members of staff at the school.

He was remanded in custody to be sentenced on 12 April.

Cheshire Police said a psychiatrist in December 2011 passed reports to the force that a child known to Day had been abused on 2010 ski trip organised by UCAN, then known as Rudheath High School.

Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Day was also charged day in connection with fire at a house in Saffron Walden

No complaint was made and police were unable to substantiate the claims, despite Day repeating the allegations in 2013.

In July 2017, Day was cleared of making threats to kill the teacher alleged to have been involved in the abuse, and filmed himself outside Chester Crown Court complaining he was the victim of a conspiracy.

Day subsequently began a campaign of stalking which focused on the teacher and headteacher before turning up at school events to warn parents not to send their children to the school.