Man accused of murdering man, 60, in arson attack to appear at court - and faces charges for blackmail and possessing meat cleaver

A MAN is due to appear at court after being charged with murder following an alleged arson attack.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 9:52 am
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 10:15 am

Unemployed Aaron Wilks, 37, is set to appear at Portsmouth Crown Court accused of the murder of Mark Stoakes, 60, who died in hospital three weeks after a fire outside his home in Oak Grove, Bognor Regis.

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The incident, which took place at 8:20pm on April 8, resulted in Mr Stoakes being taken to hospital with serious burns. Wilks was originally charged with attempted murder but the charge was changed to murder after Mr Stoakes died on April 30 from his injuries.

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Portsmouth Crown Court Picture: César Moreno Huerta

Wilks, of Ash Grove, Bognor Regis, is also being charged with arson for damaging a gate owned by Mr and Mrs Stoakes and for unlawfully or maliciously casting an accelerant at Mrs Stoakes, 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.

He has also been accused of blackmail for an incident which occurred on January 31 and for having an article with a blade or point after possessing a meat cleaver in a public place, namely Oak Grove, on the same date.

Alongside this, he has also been charged for criminal damage for damaging a CCTV camera owned by Mr and Mrs Stoakes on February 9.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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