PHILIP Day has been found guilty of setting fire to UCAN last February, as well as stalking two of its teachers prior to the blaze.

Following a trial of more than six weeks at Chester Crown Court, a jury of 10 unanimously returned the verdict after more than a day’s deliberation.

As well as the February 2018 arson at the Rudheath school, Day was also found guilty of setting fire to a house in Essex in December 2017, although he was cleared of burgling the same property.

His crimes stemmed from what the prosecution called a ‘genuinely-held belief’ that a student had been raped by a UCAN teacher, although no report was ever officially recorded by the police.

The stalking charges arose from a ‘campaign’ against UCAN, conducted over a number of months and including videos and posts of Facebook accusing the school – and police, CWAC and other bodies – of harbouring a paedophile ring.

He also attended two school events, prompting ‘lockdown’ procedure in which the subjects of his campaign – Cath Green and another teacher, who cannot be named – were hidden away amid safety concerns.

Prior to the Facebook campaign – which Day called ‘an appeal for truth’ – in June 2017, he had been acquitted of threatening to kill said teacher.

Day had told a jury that his campaign had been conducted entirely within the law, and that he had told commenters that he couldn’t succeed with violence.

The campaign stopped and was taken off Facebook in late 2017 after the school took out an injunction against him, by which point Day had encountered a woman named Samantha Baldwin online and began having an affair.

Ms Baldwin had accused her ex-husband of sexually abusing their children, an allegation that was found to be untrue by a family court judge before she abducted the children and hid for a week in Nottingham.

Northwich Guardian:

The damage after the fire 

In December 2017, Day travelled down to Essex and set fire to Ms Baldwin’s ex-husband’s house, where he was living with his new partner. The family was away on a skiing trip at the time Day, who has more than two-dozen past convictions including criminal damage, had told the court he had been in Essex doing courier work for gangster John Kinsella, who was gunned down in 2018.

He was spotted by ANPR cameras driving from Cheshire towards Essex, last captured around 40 miles from the house before driving back up hours later.

The prosecution told the jury that the fire had been similar to that at UCAN, in that it was formed of many separate seats of fire.

READ > 'He was obsessed' says police chief

Day was interviewed by Cheshire Police about the harassment charges in February 2018, becoming angry and banging his fists on the table, shouting over officers about the perceived cover-up of child sex abuse.

Days later, he drove to UCAN from his home in Saltash Close, Runcorn, early on Sunday morning, February 25, and set fire to the school.

A man carrying a jerry can was spotted on CCTV and by eye witnesses, who also saw a car on which Day was insured driving away from the scene.

HOW IT HAPPENED > A timeline of Philip Day's vigilante rampage

He was arrested the following day, choosing to stay silent throughout an interview.

Day disposed of his legal team just weeks before the trial began on January 2, choosing to represent himself.

Following a 31-day trial, he was convicted of two counts of stalking, the arson in Essex, and arson being reckless as to endanger life at UCAN, where the caretaker lived on site.