• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Pictures show devastation inside Abingdon home after arson


Aug 31, 2022

This is the scene that confronted fire investigators after the blaze that ripped through Stephen Erdbeer’s living room.

The 66-year-old had bundled together items that belonged to his wife’s late daughter and used lighter fluid and a Zippo lighter to set fire to the keepsakes.

The blaze, which was set following an argument with his wife at a nearby pub, caused significant damage to their home in Ock Street, Abingdon. The fire was so hot it melted the fire alarms.

READ MORE: Jail for arsonist who torched family home

The Crown Prosecution Service has now released images taken by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service fire investigators following the arson on May 20.

Last week, Erdbeer was jailed for three years and nine months by Judge Maria Lamb. Sending him inside, the circuit judge said: “This [was] a spiteful piece of behaviour. It was directed at your wife who, it is quite clear from what is said, had been in physical decline since the death of her daughter.”

Erdbeer, formerly of Ock Street, Abingdon, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to arson being reckless as to whether life and property was endangered. He had no previous convictions.

Mitigating for her client last Friday, Clare Evans said setting the fire was a ‘moment of madness for a man who really has led a blameless life’.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward