"Wilding believed he had concocted a believable story that would ensure he could continue on with his life without being punished."
- Stuart Truss, Essex Police detective chief inspector
On 3rd July 2021, Andrew Wilding set fire to the flat he shared with his bedbound mother Elsie Pinder in Southend, Essex after allegedly searching online for ‘fires’, ‘arsons’, ‘murders’, and ‘batteries involved in fires’ in the lead up to the fire, reports Evening Standard.
At the time of the incident, Wilding - who had been the sole carer for his sixty-six-year-old mother - told the Police that he had left a battery on charge in the hallway while he went to McDonald’s. Consequently, he was initially treated as a witness.
While Wilding was at McDonald’s, neighbours living in flats above the fire raised the alarm and had to evacuate the building. Ms Pinder sadly died in the blaze. Following an investigation led by detective chief inspector Stuart Truss, internet searches revealed that Wilding’s “greed led him to setting a fire in the home he shared with his mother.”
Amongst internet searches for ‘fire’ and ‘arson’, Wilding had also searched inheritance pay-outs and the life expectancy of a person with a stroke. The final search carried out on the 30th June – three days before the incident - was ‘suspected arson what to look for battery’.
Truss noted that “he knew, there was no chance she would be able to get out of the building alive” since she had suffered from a stroke and he was her sole carer.
“Elsie, despite her health issues, was described as being full of laughter and energy. Wilding took away from her the chance for her to enjoy her later years. Even more than that, he also knew there were neighbours in the building in which he and his mother lived,” Truss added.
Essex Police has now revealed that jurors at Basildon Crown Court found Wilding guilty of murder following a trial on Friday, reports the Evening Standard.
He was also found guilty of arson with intent to endanger life, due to him being aware there were occupants in the flat above. Wilding was given a life sentence and told he must serve 27 years before he can be considered for release, Essex Police said.
After the trial, Stuart Truss claimed that “even through his trial as the evidence was laid out, he maintained his innocence and that Elsie’s death was a tragic accident.”