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Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Arsonist - Fielding carried out the attack because of a grudge he bore his former school friend Lee Day who he claimed had ruined his chances of becoming famous
Number of victims: 7
Date of murders: March 6, 1999
Date of arrest: 11 days after
Date of birth: 1978
Victims profile: Lee Day, 22, his girlfriend Yvonne Colverhouse, 17, his twin daughters Maddison and Rhiannon, 3, and son Reece, 2, Day's mother Sandra, 50, and his grandmother Kathleen, 76
Method of murder: Fire (poured petrol through the letterbox of the house)
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Sentenced to be detained at Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire under the Mental Health Act, for an indefinite period on May 16, 2000

Richard Fielding of Walthamstow was an arsonist killer responsible for wiping out four generations within the same family.

On March 6 1999, Fielding set alight to the family home of his school friend Lee Day in Bellamy Road, Chingford, after holding a grudge against Mr Day after accusing him of ruining his chances of a successful career.

The blaze killed Mr Day, his grandmother, mother, young twin daughters and son and his girlfriend.

Mr Day's father was the only family member to escape the fire after being rescued by neighbours.

The mentally ill unemployed disc jockey was sentenced in 2000 to indefinite stay at Rampton Hospital after pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.


Killer arsonist detained indefinitely

May 16, 2000

An unemployed disc jockey who set fire to a house in London, killing seven people, has been ordered to be detained indefinitely.

Richard Fielding, 21, was sent to Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire under the Mental Health Act after pleading guilty at the Old Bailey to the manslaughter of seven people.

The Recorder of London, Judge Michael Hyam, told Fielding: "If the crime had been committed by anyone with a normal mind, it would have been a crime of desolating wickedness."

Outside court, Kelly Himpfen, 21, the mother of three children who died in the fire, said: "It just goes to show you can get away with murder."

Fielding, from Walthamstow, east London, carried out the attack because of a grudge he bore his former school friend Lee Day, 22, who he claimed had ruined his chances of becoming famous.

He was charged with murder but his plea of guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility was accepted on Monday.

House set alight

Fielding admitted killings Mr Day, his 17-year-old girlfriend Yvonne Colverhouse, his twin daughters Maddison and Rhiannon, aged three, and son Reece, two, Mr Day's mother Sandra, 50, and his grandmother Kathleen, 76.

They died in the early hours of 6 March last year when the three-storey family home in Bellamy Road, Chingford, north-east London, was set alight after petrol was poured through the letter box.

Lee and Sandra's bodies were found in the second floor bedroom where they had gone in a vain attempt to rescue the children.

The only member of the family to escape the fire, grandfather Brian Day, 52, who was rescued by ladder by neighbours from a first floor window before the windows were blown out by an explosion, sat at the back of the court.

Mother lost three children

He was joined by Kelly Himpfen, the 21-year-old mother of the dead children.

She had separated from Lee Day and the children were staying with him for the weekend.

On the night of the fire Fielding filled up a plastic canister in a petrol station and cycled round the corner to the Day house.

Asked by the garage attendant if his car had broken down, he replied: "No, I am going to do a house", but he was not taken seriously.

The petrol can containing Fielding's fingerprint was found in the area the next day and he was arrested.

Orlando Pownall, prosecuting, said: "He seemed elated and buzzing. He was behaving like a small child."

Mr Pownall said: "He said it was revenge. He felt bad. He said 'If it had just been the kids, it would have been easier to say sorry'."

Probation reports spoke of Fielding having paranoid psychosis and narcissistic personality disorder, going back many years.

One doctor said his prognosis was "appalling" and he had little chance of his illness improving.

Fielding denied the attempted murder of Brian Day and the Recorder of London, Michael Hyam, ordered the charge to remain on file.

Mr Pownall said Fielding suffered a severe hand injury during a burglary he carried out with Mr Day and bore a grudge against him.

He believed the injury made him unattractive to women and felt Day had wrecked his dreams of being a top DJ.

It was a resentment which festered and eventually led to seven people, including three children, losing their lives.



Man remanded over fire deaths

March 18, 1999

A man has been remanded in custody for a week accused of seven murders and an attempted murder in an arson attack.

The man is charged with murdering Kathleen Day, 75, Sandra Day, 50, and Lee Day, 22, three-year-old twins Maddison and Rhiannon Himphen-Day, two-year-old Reece Himphen, and 16-year-old Yvonne Culverhouse in a fire at 15 Bellamy Road, Chingford, London earlier this month.

The victims of the fire were officially named by police for the first time following the hearing at Stratford magistrates' court in east London.

A post-mortem examination revealed all seven victims died from smoke inhalation.

The accused man cannot be named after deputy stipendiary magistrate Hugh Vickers ruled it was "not in the interests of justice or public order" to identify him publicly.

He also faces an eighth charge, of attempting to murder 50-year-old Brian Day who managed to escape the fire by clambering down a ladder put up to a first-floor bedroom window by neighbours who rushed to help.

The man was remanded until Friday 26 March.



House fire murder hunt

March 6, 1999

Police are treating as murder the deaths of seven people - six of them members of the same family - in a London house fire.

Two four-year-old twin girls, a two-year-old boy, their father, their grandmother and their great-grandmother were killed in the blaze at a three-storey building in Chingford.

The seventh victim was a friend of the children's father.

Scotland Yard said the three women were aged 16, 51 and 75. One of the dead men was about 22.

The police officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Superintendent James Moore Sutherland, said: "We are treating this as a murder. Somebody out there knows who has done this and we need their help.

"This is a horrific attack on innocents. This is the worst I have seen in 31 years in the job."

A plain-clothed police officer has been seen removing a red petrol canister in a sealed bag from the scene.

The seven bodies were left in the burnt-out house until midday on Saturday because it was too dangerous for emergency services to remove them.

Firefighters then used a crane to pass seven stretchers through a second-floor window as they began the harrowing task of retrieving the bodies.

Shortly before 2pm, the dead children's mother arrived at the scene. Weeping and accompanied by two friends, she refused to comment.

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: "The body of an adult male was found in a first-floor rear bedroom.

"Earlier two adult females and three children were found in a second-floor rear bedroom while the body of an adult male was found in the front bedroom on the second floor."

The alarm was raised shortly before 0100 on Saturday when flames were seen coming from the property.

One adult, believed to be the children's great-grandfather, managed to escape from a first-floor window with the help of neighbours by using a builder's ladder.

The man who survived was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital where he was treated for burns to the hand.

Before daybreak, a bouquet of white flowers had been left on the pavement opposite the burnt-out house.

With them was a hand-written note which read: "God bless, Sarah, Lee, Abbie XXX."

Lisa Lewis, a neighbour and good friend of the family, described how she was woken in the early hours by the sounds of screams and cries.

She said: "I could hear the kids coughing and crying. It was terrible ... there was nothing I could do.

"I ran downstairs and called 999 and then went outside. I got ... a window cleaner, to get his ladders off the van. But it was too late. The screaming and crying had stopped. You couldn't see them anymore."

Weeping, Miss Lewis, 25, then told how the children's mother arrived at the scene: "I just heard her screaming then 'Get my babies! Get my babies!'

"She collapsed and they took her to hospital," Miss Lewis added.

Another neighbour, Scott Witney, who has lived locally for 22 years and has known the family during that time, said he was shocked at the tragedy.

Others described the family as popular. One, Mirle Edmonds, said: "They were very nice people, a lovely family. The children were beautiful, lovely children."



The victims



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