Old school friends jailed for arson attack on St Faith’s Church

Jason Sulley

Jason Sulley

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Two old school friends caused £850,000 worth of damage when they torched a church after drinking cider.

Michael John Lill and Jason Sulley, both 23, set fire to St Faith’s Church, which was once part of Stanley Royd Asylum, in June.

Michael Lill

Michael Lill

And today (Friday) they were both jailed for three-and-a-half years each for carrying out the arson attack.

Leeds Crown Court was told they caused £850,000 worth of damage to the grade-II listed church, on the corner of Eastmoor Road and Aberford Road, which was thought to have been designed by renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1861.

Lill, of Arundel Close, Wakefield, and Sulley, of Hornbeam Avenue, Silcoates Park, went into the church when they were drinking cider.

They set fire to a bundle of old bedsheets using a lighter. As the blaze spread rapidly, they were caught by police in a nearby football field.

rossparry.co.uk/syndication/David Kegel 'St Faiths church Aberford Road Wakefield arson attck'Distroyed by fire court case two men accused of the attack

rossparry.co.uk/syndication/David Kegel 'St Faiths church Aberford Road Wakefield arson attck'Distroyed by fire court case two men accused of the attack

Initially they both denied arson and tried to blame each other during their trial, which was held in December.

Passing senetence Judge Rodney Jamieson QC said: “My judgement, having listened to the evidence in this trial is as follows: you went into the church together and I have absolutely no doubt that you were both equally culpable in setting fire to it.

“This is a very serious offence indeed. It caused a great deal of economic loss and the church was regarded as part of the cultural heritage of the neighbourhood.”