Teenager jailed for park café fire attack

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 October 2011 | UPDATED: 14:41 21 October 2011

Arsonist Nathan Cross was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for setting fire to Clarence Park Cafe.

Arsonist Nathan Cross was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for setting fire to Clarence Park Cafe.

Avon and Somerset Police

A TEENAGER has this week been sentenced to four-and-a-half years behind bars for setting fire to the much-loved Clarence Park café in August.

Nathan Cross, aged 18, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to stealing food and deliberately setting fire to the café in Weston’s Walliscote Road between August 26 and August 30.

In response to the sentence, handed down this week by a judge at Bristol Crown Court, café owner Tony Munden told the Mercury he has mixed feelings at the outcome.

The 42-year-old, of Drove Road, said: “I think the judge was particularly fair. The fact that someone has actually been caught and convicted for this crime is good, but it is sad that an 18-year-old has to spend four-and-a-half years in prison.”

Mr Munden revealed Cross was tracked by police after an appeal for information was published on Facebook by cafe supporters.

Cross admitted to a friend he was responsible for the crime while he was reading about the arson attack in the Mercury - and the friend was so angry he offered a tip-off to the social network campaign group.

Mr Munden said: “My step-daughter put up a letter of appeal on Facebook. We later heard from one of Nathan Cross’ friends who said he saw him reading the article of the attack on the screen in the Mercury office and then told him he did it.

“He was so disgusted by his behaviour, he sent a message to our Facebook page to tell us.”

Mr Munden is still waiting for North Somerset Council to refurbish the café and for a response from his insurers.

He said: “I still think something should have been done a lot sooner to prevent this attack from happening. I’m pleased he will not be able to do this to anyone else’s business, but I’m still suffering from it.

“We have made over 100 phone calls to the council and have got no-where. The council has said we will hopefully get the café back around Christmas time. I’m hoping to get back a café to serve the community but I think I’m just going to get back a shell. I think that’s the only good thing that will come out of it.”

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