Following an investigation by the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit, a man has pleaded guilty to arson, grievous bodily harm and murder after he set fire to a block of flats in Reading.
Hakeem Kigundu, aged 32, formerly of Rowe Court, Reading, pleaded guilty today (20/9) at Reading Crown Court to two counts of murder, two counts of grievous bodily harm and one count of arson with intent to endanger life.
On 15 December 2021, Kigundu started a fire at a block of flats in Rowe Court, Reading, where he had been a resident.
The fire then spread, causing major damage to the building, trapping residents inside.
Tragically, two of the residents, Richard Burgess, aged 46, and Neil Morris, aged 45, were killed.
Two other people were seriously injured as a result of Kigundu’s actions.
A large emergency service presence was required at the scene and a major incident was declared.
Kigundu was arrested later the same day, and charged on 17 December last year.
Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Sally Spencer, of the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit, said: “Kigundu’s actions were devastating. Because he started a fire, Richard Burgess and Neil Morris have lost their lives, two other people have been seriously injured and all the residents have lost their homes and treasured possessions.
“The families of Mr Burgess and Mr Morris in particular have had to endure the unimaginable pain of waiting weeks for the bodies of their loved ones to be recovered from the site, as the building was so badly damaged that it was unsafe to remove them more quickly.
“I want to thank the families of Mr Burgess and Mr Morris, all the residents of Rowe Court who have lost their homes in such tragic circumstances, and the wider community for their cooperation and support during this extremely difficult time.
“I’m pleased that Kigundu has pleaded guilty today, and that the families of Mr Burgess and Mr Morris will at least be spared the trauma of a trial.”
Kigundu will be sentenced at the same court over a two day hearing scheduled to take place on October 6 and 7.