Three teenagers in court over arson attack at St Mark’s Church Hall, Teddington
Three teenagers accused of burning down a church hall as part of a crime spree in Teddington will stand trial at Kingston Crown Court.
St Mark’s Church Hall, in St Mark’s Road, was gutted when fire ripped through it in the early hours of December 17 last year.
Marcus Allen, 19, of Little Queen’s Road, Teddington, Anthony Blackford, 19, of Cygnet Avenue, Feltham, and Jack Passmore, 18, of Hensworth Road, Ashford, today appeared at Richmond Magistrates’ Court charged with arson.
The trio were also accused of breaking into a sports equipment shed at Sacred Heart RC Primary School, also in St Mark’s Road, and stealing equipment on the same day.
And they also all face a third charge of breaking into the garage of the caretaker of Collis School, in Fairfax Road, Teddington, a few minutes walk away, and stealing tools and alcohol worth £80.
They first appeared in court on July 14 and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Today, chairwoman of the bench Mandy Lamplugh committed them to trial at Kingston Crown Court, where a plea and case management hearing will be heard on September 27.
The three were released on bail on condition they did not contact or have any association with one another apart from at court hearings.
The fire brigade received reports of the fire at the hall at about 5.30am on December 17.
In the aftermath of the fire, St Mark’s vicar David Lund said it was “sad” the hall, which had also been used as the church itself before being turned into the hall 60 years ago, had gone and the Come and Play playgroup, based at the church, was also affected.
Jo Massie, who helps to run the group, spoke of her devastation at the time.
She said: “We had a massive storage room full of bought and donated toys and games that are now in ashes.”