Blaze school to be completed by January

REBUILDING work at a Suffolk school which was badly damaged in a devastating fire last summer will not be completed until next year, a court has heard.

REBUILDING work at a Suffolk school which was badly damaged in a devastating fire last summer will not be completed until next year, a court has heard.

Laurie Robinson, the head teacher of Copleston High School in Ipswich told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that the target date for the completion of the £1 million rebuilding programme was January next year - 17 months after the fire.

Mr Robinson was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of a 16-year-old boy accused of being involved in starting the fire at the school on August 27 last year.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, has denied arson.


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The court has heard that an 18-year-old youth - Ashley Norman of Clifford Road, Ipswich has admitted arson.

The school was badly damaged by the fire just days before it re-opened after the summer holidays.

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School caretaker David Scarlett, who lives next to the school, said he received a call after 10pm on August 27 from the school's burglar alarm company informing him that an alarm had been activated.

He went outside and could see a fire in the girls' gym through an open door. He then noticed flames coming up at the back of the school.

Resident Patricia Brewster said that after arranging for the fire brigade to be called she had gone outside where she saw a youth standing by the school gates.

The youth was speaking to someone on his mobile phone and she heard him say: “The schools on fire. It's big.”

She said the youth sounded concerned about what was happening. She had then seen a second youth running away from the fire in the gym.

The trial, which is expected to last until the end of this week continues today .

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