Arson charges dropped against Trail man

A 77-year-old Trail man who was arrested for allegedly setting fire to his home in the Gulch was found not criminally responsible for arson due to a mental disorder.

David Willford appeared in Rossland court Thursday in relation to the blaze that ignited his unit in a duplex on Railway Lane last month.

“The court is satisfied that the person did not commit the criminal act but is persuaded on the balance of probability that the accused, by reason of mental disorder, did not know the nature and quality of his acts,” explained Trail RCMP Sgt. Rob Hawton.

Nearly 20 firefighters from Trail and Warfield were called to the scene to douse the fire that ripped through Willford’s unit and caused extensive smoke damage to the other unit in mid-April.

After Willford was arrested and in custody, firefighters were called back to the same home that night to put out, yet, another blaze.

Police are not disclosing how the first fire was started at this time, as the verdict can still be appealed by the Crown or accused, said Hawton, who added

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that an investigation into the second fire remains open.

“I can’t say it (the second fire) was linked or not, he wasn’t there so he didn’t do it,” said Hawton, adding that there is no evidence to indicate that the fire was not doused properly and ignited on its own.

The B.C. Review Board will hold a hearing within the next 45 days, where details like whether Willford should be held at a psychiatric hospital and for how long, will be sorted out.