Ex-soldier Simon Beech charged with arson attack on Stoke mosque

A former soldier has appeared in court charged in connection with an arson attack at a mosque in Stoke-on-Trent.

Simon Beech, 23, of Hartshill Road in the city, denied arson with intent to endanger life, committing arson recklessly and criminal damage.

Live CCTV footage showed smoke coming from the mosque in Regent Road, Hanley, last December.

He was a serving soldier at the time of the fire, but was discharged by the 2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment.

Garreth Foster, 28, of Hartshill Road, also pleaded not guilty to the same charges when the pair appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Friday.

They were both released on bail are due to appear before the court again in December.

BBC News, 17 June 2011

For Beech’s links to the EDL, see Exposing the English Defence League, 28 March 2011