Racecourse caretaker guilty of arson

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 17:10 25/02/2013

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Kelvin Mark Webb, 36, has been found guilty of lighting four fires at the Foxton Racecourse between November 19 and December 18, 2011.

He has also been acquitted of lighting a fire there on November 18, 2011.

The jury in the High Court at Palmerston North returned its unanimous verdicts this afternoon and Webb was remanded in custody until sentencing in April.

He was the racecourse caretaker at the time.

The defence said there was no evidence pointing towards Webb's guilt and somebody else was the arsonist, possibly track rider Danny Stamm.

The Crown argued Webb's odd reactions to some of the fires could be seen as a sign of guilt.

Justice Jillian Mallon this morning spent about 75 minutes talking to the 11-member jury.

She reminded them to disregard any opinions witnesses gave about Webb or any other aspect of the arsons.

''The views some expressed may have been based on rumours and speculation.''

The judge also told the jury not to read anything into the fact that Webb didn't give evidence at his two-week trial.

She reminded the jury that the defence did not have prove that Mr Stamm could have been the arsonist, it was merely raising him as an alternative suspect.

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- Manawatu Standard

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