Son 'murdered disabled mum in fire after watching Jeffrey Dahmer video', Southend murder trial hears

251122 Elsie Pinder
Credit: BPM Media
Elsie Pinder died after a fire at the flat she shared with her son Andrew Wilding, who is on trial for her murder. Credit: BPM Media

A man accused of murdering his disabled mother by setting fire to their flat had watched a video about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in the days leading up to the blaze, a court has heard.

Andrew Wilding, 42, is charged with the murder of Elsie Pinder at the home they shared in Southchurch Road in the early hours of 3 July 2021.

After setting the fire, Wilding left and went to buy a McDonald's milkshake, leaving his mother in bed in the burning flat, Basildon Crown Court heard.

Ms Pinder, 66, a stroke victim who lived with mobility issues, could be heard screaming her son's name before going quiet.

She was rescued from the burning building by emergency services but died from her injuries in hospital.

But giving evidence at his trial, Wilding, who denies the charges, said he and his mother "got on really well together" and that he had not tried to kill her.Wilding took to the witness box during his trial on Thursday, telling the jury he and Ms Pinder had a "really loving mother and son relationship".

The jury had previously heard that Wilding had left the home at around 2.30am on the morning of 3 July, drove to McDonald's and bought a milkshake, returning to find fire and emergency services at the scene.

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer murdered 17 men between 1978 and 1991, and has recently been the subject of a Netflix dramatisation. Credit: PA

He claimed that a battery left to charge might have been the cause of the fire.

The jury was told on Thursday through analysis of Wilding's web search history that he had previously watched a video on YouTube called "inside the mind of Jeffrey Dahmer" - the infamous American serial killer, along with searches about arson.

Defence barrister Christine Agnew KC asked Wilding: "Any particular interest in serial killers? Any particular interest in arson?"Wilding replied: "No. No, none at all."

The jury also heard that on one of Wilding's devices he had saved a document about arson in the weeks before the fire.

Police entering the home Elsie Pinder shared with her son Andrew Wilding in Southend Credit: BPM Media

Ms Agnew said: "It could be suggested that this document was to form some form of ablueprint for a plan. What would you say to this suggestion?"

Wilding said: "Absolutely not, completely untrue."

Wilding told the jury that on the night of the fire he had been messaging his partner before finishing smoking a cigarette and then leaving the house to drive to the McDonald's at Southend Airport.

Wilding was asked if he had seen or noticed any smoke or flames by Ms Agnew, to which he replied that he had seen none.

When asked what he would have done had he noticed any signs of fire he told the court he would have "put it out, or attempted to".

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