Daniel Finnerty sentenced for Arson of a church in Fleet


Daniel Finnerty, 17, was sentenced today at Winchester Crown Court to four years in a Youth Offender Institution and to a three year extended licence after he was found guilty of two offences of arson. The offences took place on 16 and 22 June at All Saints Church in Fleet, Hampshire.

Following the sentence, Sharon Douglass, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex, said: "By setting fire to All Saints Church, Daniel Finnerty destroyed not only the hopes of the brides who had planned to get married in this beautiful church but seriously damaged a Grade 2 listed building, which was over 150 years old and built in the Victorian era.

"The All Saints Church was one of only three left in the country that was designed by William Burgess and  was of a huge local importance. As a result of this reckless act  the Church can no longer be listed as a grade 2 building. The cost of repair has been estimated to run into millions and many items such as paintings cannot be replaced. It has left a community heartbroken to see their beloved church, which had held so many memories for them, destroyed.

"During  the sentence the court heard that Daniel Finnerty suffered from ADHD leading to behavioural difficulties.

"The vicar of the Church said in his victim personal statement that what seemed to have caused a significant amount of grief to the parish community was a memorial book that was destroyed in the fire. It was kept within a glass case in the Church and held the names of those departed. Despite the damage, he added that he could speak on behalf of  the parish of Fleet when saying that they had no ill feelings towards Daniel Finnerty."