BOGNOR REGIS BREAKING WEST SUSSEX

Man charged with murder following fire in Bognor Regis

Police Stock

Police investigating a fire in Bognor Regis have charged a man with murder.

Officers were called to Oak Grove around 8.15pm on Thursday, 8 April, following reports of a deliberate fire in the front garden of a property.

Mark Stoakes, 60, suffered burn injuries and sadly died in hospital on Friday, 30 April.

Aaron Wilks, 37, unemployed, of Ash Grove, Bognor Regis, was charged with grievous bodily harm, arson and throwing / casting an explosive substance with intent to burn / maim / disfigure / disable / do grievous bodily harm.

Following the death of Mr Stoakes, Sussex Police liaised with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in relation to the charges for Wilks and he was subsequently charged with murder.

He will appear at Portsmouth Crown Court for trial on 29 November.

Detective Inspector Pauline Lane said: “Our teams have worked tirelessly on this investigation and following consultation with the CPS, we have charged a man with murder.

“I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mark Stoakes’ family and friends for this terrible loss and assure the local community that this is being investigated as a top priority.

“Together with our partners we work hard to tackle crime in Arun and are carrying out high-visibility patrols in key areas to combat this.

“Although it’s important to provide a visible policing presence, we also very much need your support in keeping the community safe.

“If you are a victim or witness of criminal or suspicious behaviour please report it directly to Sussex Police on 101 or through the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”