Injured Afghanistan veteran could face jail for arson

Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.

A Pendle soldier seriously injured in Afghanistan has been warned he could face jail after he torched his friend’s works van causing £3,000 worth of damage,

Shaun Aspin (27) had poured petrol over the Ford Transit after he had been drinking and claimed it was for a dare. The vehicle, belonging to Arts Media Services Ltd, will probably be written off after the fire in Nelson, on September 27th, a court was told.

Aspin, who formerly lived in Colne, was flown back to the UK in 2010, after his neck was broken serving his country. The soldier, then 22, of the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster Regiment, had been in Helmand Province for just three weeks.

He was injured while on routine foot patrol, along with his sergeant, Rick Clement, when an Improvised Explosive Device hit them. Sergeant Clement lost both his legs as well as suffering other injuries.

When he arrived back in Britain, Aspin was treated for fractures to his neck and severe shrapnel wounds at the Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham. He was then sent to the Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre in Surrey after undergoing surgery and his parents were at his bedside.

On Tuesday, Aspin, now of Alexander Street, Nelson, admitted arson, committed in the town, at Burnley Magistrates Court.

The justices, who said the defendant had pleaded guilty at the very earliest opportunity, asked for a full pre- sentence report from the probation service. They said it would be look at all options, including custody and the possibility of committal to the crown court for sentence. The defendant was bailed until November 12th.