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Cheshire 'sex abuse' claim school arsonist Philip Day jailed

Philip Day Image copyright Crown Prosecution Service
Image caption Philip Day was jailed for 15 years at Chester Crown Court

A man who torched the roof of a school after claiming it was a "playground for paedophiles" has been jailed.

Philip Day took the law into his own hands after making unsubstantiated allegations about sex abuse.

Jurors at Chester Crown Court heard how the 55-year-old stalked teachers and set fire to the University of Chester Academy Northwich (UCAN) in Cheshire.

Day, of Runcorn, was jailed for 15 years with an extended licence period of five years.

He was convicted of two counts of arson and two counts of stalking.

'No remorse'

In February 2018 Day climbed on to the school roof, removed tiles and poured petrol inside, causing £2.4m of damage.

Sentencing Day, Judge Simon Berkson described him as "an obsessive who has shown no shred of remorse".

The case dates to 2010, when Day made allegations against a teacher from UCAN, which was formally known as Rudheath High School.

Day became convinced the school, police and local safeguarding officer were involved in a conspiracy to cover up alleged abuse, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

'Personal crusade'

A "thorough and extensive investigation by both the school and the police" was carried out into the allegations made by Day but "no evidence was found to back this up", the CPS added.

It was the CPS's case that Day had launched a "personal crusade in a bid to achieve his own justice".

He posted messages and videos on social media and turned up at school events to warn parents not to send their children there.

Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Philip Day "waged a crusade" against the University of Chester Academy Northwich in Cheshire

After his arrest for the Cheshire school blaze, police in Essex questioned and charged Day in connection with a December 2017 fire at a house in Saffron Walden.

Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Day was also charged day in connection with fire at a house in Saffron Walden

The incident was linked to a case in which Day believed that there had been a miscarriage of justice, involving a woman who had also made claims on the internet about the abuse of children.

An investigation proved the claims to be unfounded, the CPS confirmed.

However, Day drove to the property where he believed the accused man lived and set fire to the house, causing £1.5m worth of damage.

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