BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Valerie Jones reports
"It is unlikely his illness will improve enough for him to be released"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 16 May, 2000, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Killer arsonist detained indefinitely
Day family
Four generations of the same family died
An unemployed disc jockey who set fire to a house in London, killing seven people, has been ordered to be detained indefinitely.

Richard Fielding, 21, was sent to Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire under the Mental Health Act after pleading guilty at the Old Bailey to the manslaughter of seven people.

The Recorder of London, Judge Michael Hyam, told Fielding: "If the crime had been committed by anyone with a normal mind, it would have been a crime of desolating wickedness."

Outside court, Kelly Himpfen, 21, the mother of three children who died in the fire, said: "It just goes to show you can get away with murder."

Fielding, from Walthamstow, east London, carried out the attack because of a grudge he bore his former school friend Lee Day, 22, who he claimed had ruined his chances of becoming famous.

Richard Fielding
Fielding had a narcissistic personality disorder
He was charged with murder but his plea of guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility was accepted on Monday.

House set alight

Fielding admitted killings Mr Day, his 17-year-old girlfriend Yvonne Colverhouse, his twin daughters Maddison and Rhiannon, aged three, and son Reece, two, Mr Day's mother Sandra, 50, and his grandmother Kathleen, 76.

They died in the early hours of 6 March last year when the three-storey family home in Bellamy Road, Chingford, north-east London, was set alight after petrol was poured through the letter box.

The house
Smoke inhalation killed all seven victims

Lee and Sandra's bodies were found in the second floor bedroom where they had gone in a vain attempt to rescue the children.

The only member of the family to escape the fire, grandfather Brian Day, 52, who was rescued by ladder by neighbours from a first floor window before the windows were blown out by an explosion, sat at the back of the court.

Mother lost three children

He was joined by Kelly Himpfen, the 21-year-old mother of the dead children.

She had separated from Lee Day and the children were staying with him for the weekend.

On the night of the fire Fielding filled up a plastic canister in a petrol station and cycled round the corner to the Day house.

Asked by the garage attendant if his car had broken down, he replied: "No, I am going to do a house", but he was not taken seriously.

The petrol can containing Fielding's fingerprint was found in the area the next day and he was arrested.

Orlando Pownall, prosecuting, said: "He seemed elated and buzzing. He was behaving like a small child."

A plaque
Plaques at the scene commemorate the dead
Mr Pownall said: "He said it was revenge. He felt bad. He said 'If it had just been the kids, it would have been easier to say sorry'."

Probation reports spoke of Fielding having paranoid psychosis and narcissistic personality disorder, going back many years.

One doctor said his prognosis was "appalling" and he had little chance of his illness improving.

Fielding denied the attempted murder of Brian Day and the Recorder of London, Michael Hyam, ordered the charge to remain on file.

Mr Pownall said Fielding suffered a severe hand injury during a burglary he carried out with Mr Day and bore a grudge against him.

He believed the injury made him unattractive to women and felt Day had wrecked his dreams of being a top DJ.

It was a resentment which festered and eventually led to seven people, including three children, losing their lives.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

06 Mar 99 | UK
House fire murder hunt
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories