Oct 3 2013 by Sophie McCoid, Skelmersdale Advertiser
A FIREMAN is facing jail after he admitted causing a blaze that engulfed his expensive BMW in an insurance con – behind his own fire station in Skelmersdale.
Fire officer Anthony Murray was due to face trial for his offences on Monday but at the last hour he changed his pleas to guilty.
Murray, 41,o f Harswell Close, Orrell, Wigan, admitted conspiracy to commit arson and two offences of fraud involving two insurance companies.
He also pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice after he wrote a series of threatening letters which suggested that someone else had been responsible for torching his BMW Alpina car.
All the offences occurred between September 13 and November 6 last year.
The arson took place while Murray was working on one of the station's two fire engines, which had been called out on a hoax call.
At Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Stephen Everett warned Murray: "Have no illusions, custody is inevitable."
Judge Everett remanded him on bail to enable a pre-sentence report to be prepared.
Murray worked with an accomplice called Gareth Collier, who was the one who made the hoax call and started the blaze, which also damaged two other vehicles in the car park.
He had already admitted his part in the offence.
Collier, 33, of Roach Green, Longshoot, Wigan, is to return for sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court along with Murray on November 25.
Murray was suspended from the fire service, then sacked, and his former bosses issued a statement about his appearance in court.
Bob Warren, director of people and development, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "A former employee of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Anthony Murray, has admitted conspiracy to commit arson, attempting to pervert the course of justice and two offences of fraud.
“Murray was suspended from duty when an investigation into the offences commenced and has subsequently been dismissed.
"We are appalled by the criminal actions of a man who although working within a service having the core duty to protect lives and property from fire, committed arson in an attempt to defraud insurance companies."