'Sorry' for £250,000 fire which destroyed Quaker house in Gloucester
THE man who deliberately started a fire which destroyed a Quaker headquarters and £250,000 has said he's sorry.
James Bryan, 23, from Alma Place, in Gloucester, pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court to the attack on the historic Friends Meeting House, at Greyfriars, last September.
Bryan said he was "very, very sorry" about what he did in a statement read out by his solicitor.
He set fire to the historic building just five days after it had reopened following its last bout of vandalism.
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A fire ripped through the lobby putting the building out of use for months.
Only this week have plans been submitted to Gloucester City Council to rebuild the lobby.
The loss of money made from hiring out the hall to other groups and funds raised from a weekly lunch for Oxfam was expected to total several thousands of pounds.
Bryan's lawyer Andrew Hobson called for a pre-sentence report addressing the issue of his future dangerousness to the public.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC agreed "This is a very serious case, with £250,000 worth of damage."
Mr Hobson said Bryan acknowledged that he had started the fire deliberately and he was not putting forward any suggestion that it was accidental or that he was drunk.
He added: "I also make it clear that the defendant accepts fully that what he has done has been awful for those who use the Quaker meeting house.
"He is very, very sorry for what he did. I will be developing that in fuller mitigation in due course."
Judge Tabor said: "He chose a group of people who are renowned for their forgiving nature."
Mr Hobson said: "He knows who they are and what they are about."
Bryan was remanded in custody pending sentence on March 22.