Southend murder: Carer son started fire to kill disabled mother - then went for a milkshake

Andrew Wilding, left, was convicted of the murder of his mother Elsie Pinder.
Credit: Essex Police
Elsie Pinder died after a fire at the flat she shared with her son Andrew Wilding, who is on trial for her murder. Credit: Essex Police

A son who set fire to the house he shared with his bedbound mother then left her to burn to death has been found guilty of her murder.

Andrew Wilding, 42, was seen on CCTV leaving the house in Southend in the early hours of 3 July, before going to buy himself a milkshake.

Inside the Southchurch Road property, his disabled mother Elsie Pinder was lying in bed, calling his name as the fire took hold.

At Basildon Crown Court on Thursday, Wilding was found guilty of murder and arson with intent to endanger life, because there were people living in the flat above.

The jury had heard that Wilding, who was his 66-year-old mother’s sole carer, said he had left a battery on charge in the hallway when he left.

He had initially been treated as a witness but was later arrested on suspicion of murder.

Andrew Wilding leaving the flat in Southend after he started the fire. Credit: Essex Police

Officers discovered internet searches being carried out in the lead-up the fire, relating to “fires”, “arsons”, “murders” and “batteries involved in fires”. 

There were also searches around inheritance pay-outs and the life expectancy of a person with a stroke, with a final search on 30 June for “suspected arson what to look for battery”. 

Wilding will be sentenced on Friday.

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

Det Ch Insp Stuart Truss, who led our investigation, said: "This is a tragic case in which Andrew Wilding’s greed led to him setting a fire in the home he shared with his mother. He knew, there was no chance she would be able to get out of the building alive.

"She had suffered a stroke and was bedbound and he was her sole carer. 

“Elsie, despite her health issues, was described as being full of laughter and energy. Wilding took away her the chance for her to enjoy her later years.

“Even more than that, he also knew there were neighbours in the building in which he and his mother lived. He undoubtedly put their lives at risk with his actions."

He described the police work done as "among the most complex investigations faced in Essex".

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