THE partner of a pub licensee has appeared at court accused of starting a fire at the town centre premises.
Mr French, who had been in a relationship with landlady Joanne Robinson, was arrested close to the scene by police investigating the fire at the Cheapside pub in the early hours the following morning.
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He was subsequently charged with arson with intent or being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
During a short hearing at Durham Crown Court today (Thursday February 14) no pleas were taken, but defence barrister, Susan Hirst, said Mr French’s solicitors have been asked to seek preparation of a psychiatric report on his behalf.
The case was adjourned and Mr French, of Canterbury Close, Spennymoor, was bailed to return for a plea hearing at the court on April 25.