Bognor Regis man Aaron Wilks accused of arson murder of Mark Stoakes, 60, is due for trial in November

A TRIAL date has been set for a man charged with murder following an arson attack.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 12:14 pm

Unemployed Aaron Wilks’ case was heard at Portsmouth Crown Court today after the death of Mark Stoakes.

The 60-year-old died in hospital with serious burns three weeks after the fire in the garden at home in Oak Grove, Bognor Regis, on April 8.

Wilks, 37, of Ash Grove, Bognor Regis, is charged with murder and arson relating to damage to a gate owned by Mr Stoakes.

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Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: César Moreno Huerta

He also faces a charge of unlawfully or maliciously casting an accelerant at the deceased’s wife, with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable her or to do some grievous bodily harm to her.

Both incidents took place on April 8, police said.

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Wilks is also charged with blackmail on January 31, and having a meat cleaver in Oak Grove on the same date.

He has also been charged with damaging a CCTV camera on February 9.

Judge Tim Mousley QC said: ‘I will list it, if it’s going to remain in Portsmouth, for the 29th of November.’

Wilks was excused attendance for today’s hearing.

A further case management hearing will be held by the trial judge on July 7.

Chichester and Arun district commander Chief Inspector Jon Carter previously said: ‘This was a horrific incident that would have shocked many in the community and I extend my condolences to Mark Stoakes’ family and friends.’

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