Arsonist who sprayed rival with petrol found guilty of murder and blackmail at Portsmouth Crown Court

AN ARSONIST who set fire to a 60 year-old man in his front garden was found guilty of murder.

Aaron Wilks, 38, of Ash Grove, Bognor Regis, was found guilty of the murder of Mark Stoakes, 60, after a trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

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He was also found guilty of blackmail and was remanded in custody to be sentenced at a later date.

Aaron Wilks was found guilty of murder at Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Sussex police

Mr Stoakes was at his Bognor home with his family on the evening of April 8 when they noticed their garden gate was on fire. Running to the front of the house to see who was responsible, they encountered Wilks, who was holding a blue bottle of petrol, which he began to spray at Mark and his wife, Karen.

Wilks then produced a flame, which ignited the petrol instantly. Mr Stoakes was hospitalised with serious burns and fell into an induced coma before dying on April 30.

Police investigations revealed two other violent incidents between Wilks and Mr Stoakes.

Detective inspector Pauline Lane, said: ‘This was a horrendous and deeply distressing incident.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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