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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Sixties singer facing jail term
Wayne Fontana
The singer was told off for his 'fancy dress'
Sixties pop star Wayne Fontana has been remanded in custody after admitting setting fire to a debt collector's car.

The judge criticised the former lead singer of the Mindbenders, real name Glyn Ellis, for arriving at Derby Crown court dressed as the Lady of Justice.

He had to hand a sword and scales to guards but wore a crown, cape and dark glasses, claiming "justice is blind".

The 61-year-old faces jail for arson after he poured petrol over a bailiff's car and set it alight.

Judge Andrew Hamilton said: "He regards this whole procedure as a pantomime.

"He has come dressed as a fool and he wants to act like a fool - I hope they give him a prison uniform at Nottingham Prison to keep him warm."

Bottle of petrol

Bailiffs visited Fontana's home in Glossop, Derbyshire, on 1 February and spoke to the defendant about a warrant, the court was told.

After they returned to their cars, parked outside, Fontana emerged with a bottle of petrol and poured it over one of the vehicles.

He did not know the car would not blow up immediately and kill this man
Judge Andrew Hamilton

Bailiff Paul Stott told police that he opened his car door and asked the defendant: "What are you doing?"

It is claimed Fontana told the debt collector: "I am going to burn you."

The front of the Citroen became engulfed in flames. "I was in extreme shock and in fear of my life," said Mr Stott in his statement.

Fontana denies arson with intent to endanger life, claiming Mr Stott had escaped the vehicle before it set alight.

But he admits arson being reckless to whether life is endangered, saying he did ignite the fuel and set the car on fire.

Addressing defence barrister Hugh McKee, Judge Hamilton said: "What your client did was a most serious offence. He did not know the car would not blow up immediately and kill this man.

No vendetta

"It seems to me it does not make the slightest bit of difference if he got out in one second, two seconds or three seconds."

Mr McKee said his client had no vendetta against bailiffs but admitted he had been "in considerable contact" with a number of them.

The case was adjourned until July and Fontana was remanded into custody. Judge Hamilton also ordered a psychiatric report.

The judge told Fontana he would be jailed. "The only question is how long you are going to custody for," he added.

Fontana shot to fame in 1964 with his band Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, recording hits including Game Of Love.

After he left the group in 1965, the Mindbenders recorded their biggest hit, Groovy Kind Of Love.

Details of the bailiffs' warrant were not revealed during the plea and directions hearing, but the court heard that Fontana had previously faced bailiffs over an outstanding parking fine.


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