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Friday, 12 August 2011

TEENAGER APPEARS IN COURT OVER FIRE AT MISS SELFRIDGE


Thousands of people around the world viewed YouTube footage of a youth in a hooded top apparently reaching through the window of a looted shop and setting light to a red dress on a mannequin.

It led to flames engulfing Miss Selfridge in Manchester’s city centre.

Yesterday Dane Williamson, 18, appeared in court accused of the arson.

He was arrested soon after Tuesday night’s blaze, which caused £319,000 of damage to stock, but he has claimed he is a victim of mistaken identity.

The teenager is accused of criminal damage and recklessly endangering life, a charge which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, Manchester magistrates were told. Gareth Brandon, prosecuting, said: ‘This was an opportunistic offence in the context of the widespread disorder at the time.

‘Quite a lot of people have seen the footage on YouTube which has been repeated in national newspapers.

‘An item of clothing on display was set on fire, the windows having already been smashed and the shutters down.’

The estimated costs relate solely to the clothing inside the store, and do not include damage to the building.

When interviewed, Williamson admitted he had been in the vicinity earlier that day, but claimed he had left by the time of the incident and was on a bus to his brother’s house when the fire was started.

His solicitor said it was ‘a case of mistaken identity’.
Williamson, of Salford, was remanded in custody to appear at Manchester Crown Court next week.

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