Thursday 1 December
A man has been found guilty of murdering his own mother after detectives were able to prove he set a fire in their home, knowing she would tragically have no way of getting out to safety.
Andrew Wilding was caught on CCTV leaving the home he shared with his mum Elsie Pinder in Southchurch Road, Southend, in the early hours of Saturday 3 July 2021.
Just 85 seconds after Wilding left the home, CCTV showed smoke coming from the home.
Wilding, who was his 66-year-old mother’s sole carer, continued walking and made his way to a nearby McDonald’s to buy a drink.
As the fire took hold, Wilding’s neighbours raised the alarm and had to flee the building. One brave man did re-enter the building in order to rescue Ms Pinder and her son, believing both to be in the building.
When Wilding returned, he told officers he had left the house to go to McDonald’s and had left a battery on charge in the hallway.
Thanks to the decisive work of detectives, Wilding, who had initially been treated as a significant witness, was nominated as a suspect and was arrested on suspicion of murder and arson with intent to endanger life.
He was released on conditional bail as the complex investigation progressed.
Throughout that investigation, we uncovered a significant number of internet searches being carried out in the lead up the incident. Those searches related to “fires”, “arsons”, “murders” and “batteries involved in fires”.
There were also searches around inheritance pay-outs and the life expectancy of a person with a stoke.
A final search carried out on June 30 was “suspected arson what to look for battery”.
As a result of our findings, Wilding, 42, was re-arrested on suspicion of murder. He gave no answer to each question posed to him during interview. He was subsequently charged with murder and arson with intent to endanger life due to him being aware there were occupants in the flat above.
He denied the charges, but a jury at Basildon Crown Court today, Thursday 1 December, found him guilty on both counts. He will be sentenced tomorrow, Friday 2 December.
A man has been handed a life sentence after detectives were able to prove he set a fire which killed his own mother in the home they both shared in Southend.
Andrew Wilding was convicted of the murder of his mother, 66-year-old Elsie Pinder, at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday 1 December.
On Friday 2 December, he was handed a life sentence and must serve a minimum of 27 years in jail before he is considered for release.
Wilding, 42, also knew the flat above his was occupied and was also charged with arson with intent to endanger life.
He denied the charges but was found guilty of both. The sentence given today is made up of 27 years for murder and eight years for the arson offence, which will run concurrently.
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate led our investigation. He said:
“This week, justice has been served for Elsie and the rest of her family, all of whom have carried themselves with incredible dignity since Andrew Wilding’s tragic actions were carried out.
“Wilding believed he had concocted a believable story which would ensure he could continue on with his life without being punished.
“Even through his trial as the evidence was laid out, he maintained his innocence and that Elsie’s death was a tragic accident.
“Thankfully, we saw through his lies and so has the jury and today he has been handed a sentence which truly reflects his actions on July 2021.”
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss, who led our investigation, said:
“This is a tragic case in which Andrew Wilding’s greed led to him setting a fire in the home he shared with his mother.
“He knew, there was no chance she would be able to get out of the building alive. She had suffered a stroke and was bedbound and he was her sole carer.
“Elsie, despite her health issues, was described as being full of laughter and energy. Wilding took away 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. He undoubtedly put their lives at risk with his actions.
“He denied these charges but thankfully, my investigative team was able to provide overwhelming evidence that this tragic event was indeed murder. The work which was carried out by the team cannot be overestimated. This is among the most complex investigations faced in Essex.
“He now faces the prospect of a substantial period of time in prison.”