Somerset

Man denies Bath sex shop arson charges

A man set fire to a sex shop in Bath after telling the shop worker "I've got a surprise for you," Bristol Crown Court has been told.

Neil Andersen threw fuel around the premises on Lower Bristol Road, threw a lit a match and fled, the court heard.

A family living in the flat above was put at risk, the jury was told.

Mr Andersen, 42, of Wedmore Park, Bath, denies charges of arson with intent to endanger life and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Prosecutor Richard Posner told jurors that Mr Andersen was not acting impulsively and he had planned the attack.

He said on the night of 21 October last year the defendant bought a green fuel container, petrol from a nearby filling station and then walked to the Private shop and carried out his attack.

Shop worker Mark Morris told the court Mr Andersen entered the shop and pulled the petrol container from his rucksack.

'Religious act'

"I stood there at first watching it. I was in shock," he said.

"The next thing I know the petrol's coming at me. I thought that was to get me out of the way.

"He kept saying, 'This isn't right'. I said to him there was a family upstairs - that's the main thing that stuck in my mind.

"He mumbled something about God, so I thought it was a religious act because he didn't like what we were doing."

Mr Posner told the jury that Mr Andersen did not accept that he was acting recklessly or endangering the lives of others.

"He says he did not appreciate that anyone was going to be upstairs.

"That was not something that was forming part of his thought process," the prosecutor said.

"He says that his frustrations were focused at the company."

The trial continues.

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