Simpson trial: Pensioner denies starting fires

Simpson trial: Pensioner denies starting fires

Nicola Hine

Simpson trial: Pensioner denies starting fires

A pensioner accused of torching his neighbour's house twice has strenuously denied claims he was responsible for the fires.

Malcolm Simpson, 68, is standing trial at Reading Crown Court charged with three counts of arson over two house blazes and a truck fire, all of which happened in Lancaster Road in Maidenhead.

Yesterday he took to the stand for the first time to defend himself, disputing the allegations about the fires with a single swear word.

He told the court he'd had sex with Alison Biggs, the owner of the burnt out house, on numerous occasions prior to the attacks on her home, but the relationship had cooled to the extent where they were no longer speaking.

Ms Biggs maintains the pair only had a one night stand.

Giving evidence last week she claimed Simpson had 'persecuted' her, with actions including smashing her windows, throwing cat faeces over her fence and playing his music too loud.

Yesterday Simpson admitted a number of actions including blaring the music and blocking Ms Biggs' overflow pipe, but denied having anything to do with the smashed windows or the three fires.

He also denied being 'obsessed' with her.

He said he was cooking a cottage pie and chopping firewood in his living room when the first house fire was started in October 2011, and was asleep at the time of the May 2012 house fire.

When the truck fire started, he said, he was at home and was only alerted to the blaze by the arrival of the fire brigade.

"I thought 'oh Christ here we go again'," he added.

Simpson also faces three alternative charges of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

He denies all the charges. The trial continues.

Read previous reports from the case below.

Day 1 - Malcolm Simpson, 68, on trial for Lancaster Road arsons

Day 2 - Simpson trial: Arson victim questioned by defence

Day 3 - Simpson trial: Neighbour claims defendant was 'obsessed' with victim

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