Bankrupt man sets all his belongings on fire so they can’t be seized, faces long prison term

John Cartwright, 65, set fire to a Movecorp van when they came to take his belongings away from his repossessed house


                            Bankrupt man sets all his belongings on fire so they can’t be seized, faces long prison term

A 65-year-old Cornwall man may be facing a long prison sentence after setting fire to a van containing his belongings on 15th February. John Cartwright was understandably angry when the van, owned by Movecorp, arrived to clear his possessions from the property that he had lost in a bankruptcy suit. In a fit of explosive rage, Cartwright poured petrol into the back of the van and set it on fire before calmly waiting for the police with a cup of tea.

“We were contracted on behalf of John Cartwright’s trustees to remove all items from the property after it had been repossessed after a bankruptcy hearing,” Movecorp managing director John Tennant said. “Whilst the crew started loading the truck with goods, the bankrupt poured petrol all over the truck and proceeded to set fire to the truck and contents whilst in a fit of rage and anger. The value of contents is unknown but the truck is a total write off with a value of £35,000.”



A court has been told that the incident happened in broad daylight outside Cartwright’s home in St Dennis, Cornwall. The fire destroyed the van and some of his belongings. During the incident, Cartwright reportedly shouted: “If I can’t have my stuff, no-one can.”

“This is a very serious case indeed, and an extremely serious and worrying offence. He is looking down the barrel of a very long prison sentence,” Judge Robert Linford said.

Metro reports that when police officers arrived on the scene, they found Cartwright calmly sipping a cup of tea and waiting for them. He was charged with one count of arson and produced at Truro Crown Court on Friday, 4th May. Cartwright admitted to the crime and pleaded guilty. His defence lawyer, Chris Nicholls suggested that the accused be given a suspended prison sentence. Judge Linford replied to the suggestion saying he was “a mile away from a suspended sentence.”

The case was adjourned for a pre-sentencing report. The van was written off at a loss of £34,874. Katie Churcher, the prosecution lawyer, told the court that Movecorp would be seeking compensation. The staff members who were loading the items into the van were reportedly so shaken by the incident that they had to be given the day off.