Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Winchester man admits three arson attacks

Winchester Cathedral Deanery
Image caption Antique books were destroyed in one fire on new Year's Day and the nearby ice-rink was evacuated

A man has pleaded guilty to starting a spate of fires in Winchester on New Year's Day.

Sean Clements, 47, of Jewry Street in the city, started fires at a restaurant, clothes shop and Winchester Cathedral's historic deanery.

He admitted three counts of arson and one count of assault when he appeared at Winchester Crown Court.

He will appear again before the same court on 28 May to be sentenced.

Around 120 people were led to safety from the cathedral's open-air ice rink when the blaze caused the doors of the deanery to catch fire.

No-one was injured but donated antique books, which were being sold to raise funds for cathedral choristers, were destroyed.

Elsewhere, fire seriously damaged the Phase Eight clothes shop in Parchment Street.

Another fire started at a restaurant but failed to take hold after the chef managed to extinguish it.

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