03:42AM, Wednesday 22 May 2013
The neighbour of a pensioner standing trial for arson has told the court the defendant was 'obsessed' with the woman whose Maidenhead home he allegedly tried to burn down.
Frederick Bedwell gave evidence at Reading Crown Court today against Malcolm Simpson, who is charged with three counts of arson over two house fires and one truck fire in Lancaster Road.
The truck in question belonged to Mr Bedwell's father and he took to the stand to claim he saw the defendant walking away from the October blaze, although this was disputed by the defence.
He described Simpson as 'a character' and said: "There's no mistaking Malcolm."
Simpson is also accused of twice setting fire to the home of another neighbour, Alison Biggs, who gave evidence in court earlier this week.
Mr Bedwell backed up Ms Biggs' claims Simpson had been persecuting her for months before the fires and said: "I have never seen someone so committed to a vendetta."
The house fires happened in October 2011 and May 2012.
Simpson denies the charges, which include three alternative counts of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
The trial continues.
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Read previous reports from the case below:
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Police raided addresses in Lillibrooke Crescent, Cox Green, and in Crown Lane, Farnham Royal, at about 7.15am.