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Friday, March 5, 1999 Published at 15:09 GMT


Former soccer boss jailed

The fire caused £100,000 worth of damage

The former owner of Doncaster Rovers football club Ken Richardson has been sentenced to for four years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court for plotting to burn down the club's main stand.

Richardson, a millionaire businessman and self-styled benefactor of the ailing club, was a major shareholder of the club at the time of the fire on 29 June 1995.

[ image: Ken Ricahrdson: Four years for arson]
Ken Ricahrdson: Four years for arson
At his trial in January, the court was told he had paid £10,000 to a former SAS soldier working as a private investigator to burn down the Bellevue ground.

The fire caused £100,000 worth of damage to the roof and seats of the main stand.

The following evening, the hired arsonist, Alan Kristiansen, left a message on Richardson's answering machine saying: "The job's been done."

The prosecution was unable to establish a motive for the attack although financial gain was suggested as a motive.

Richardson had been involved in unsuccessful talks to sell the lease of the ground to Doncaster Council so that a new stadium could be built.

But the club's former owner denied the accusations, saying he would not have destroyed the club he loved.

Kristiansen was arrested after police found his mobile phone at the scene of the fire. He is still awaiting sentence, after admitting the offence then acting as the key prosecution witness.

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