Woman admits arson after causing huge railway station blaze

A woman has admitted setting a fire in a railway station’s toilets which caused an estimated £5.5 million in damage and travel disruption.

Gemma Peat pleaded guilty to a single count of arson at Nottingham Crown Court on Wednesday, British Transport Police (BTP) said.

The 34-year-old started a fire in the ladies’ toilets on the station’s main concourse which grew into a huge blaze, taking 100 firefighters more than 27 hours to bring under control.

Nottingham railway station fire
Nottingham railway station, during the blaze. (Matthew Vincent/PA)

The fire, which was set shortly before 6.30am on Friday January 12, last year, closed the station, several surrounding roads and the tram-line while it was being tackled.

Peat was first arrested in connection with the incident on February 2 2018 and then again in January this year, before being charged.

It is thought the combined cost of her actions to Network Rail and East Midlands Trains alone, was £5.5 million.

That figure did not take into account the impact on other businesses near the station, police added.

Detective Sergeant Shanie Erwin, of BTP, said: “This was a long and particularly complex investigation, which was made even more difficult by the fact the CCTV hard drive was very badly damaged in the blaze.

“As a result we spent many months working with specialist forensic teams to recover this essential evidence and present it to the Crown Prosecution Service.

“It has been a long wait for justice for those in Nottingham and I am pleased to see Peat change her plea to guilty.

“The damage and disruption that her reckless behaviour has caused to the rail industry and those who use it is simply staggering.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their patience in receiving answers and of course the invaluable support we received from our colleagues at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue and other industry partners throughout the investigation.”

Peat, of Wilford Crescent, Nottingham, will be sentenced at the city’s crown court on August 13.

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