Stoke & Staffordshire

Man admits arson at hospital, university and museum

Royal Stoke Hospital Image copyright Paul Bradbury
Image caption The fire at the Royal Stoke Hospital led to the evacuation of hundreds of patients

A man has admitted arson charges after fires at a hospital, university and museum within a two day period.

Thomas Ashcroft, of Sheffield, admitted three charges of arson which could have endangered life.

Hundreds of patients were evacuated from the Royal Stoke University Hospital, in Staffordshire, after the fire on 7 June.

A manslaughter charge, relating to the death of elderly patient May Maxfield after the fire, was dropped.

Stafford Crown Court heard a report that said Ms Maxfield, 89, had severe heart disease, which was the cause of her death, and that there was insufficient medical evidence to support a manslaughter charge.

Image caption The fire service said a wooden model caught alight at the SeaCity Museum

One of the arson charges related to the Stoke hospital fire, another to a fire at a Staffordshire University accommodation building on the same day and one relating to a fire at the SeaCity Museum, in Southampton, on 6 June.

He also pleaded guilty to a burglary at the museum.

Ashcroft, 39, of Musgrave Crescent, will be sentenced at a later date.

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