City of London worker charged with trying to set fire to homeless club

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The City of London is London’s financial district A City of London employee has been charged with the attempted arson of a building that was meant to be…

City of London worker charged with trying to set fire to homeless club

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The City of London is London’s financial district

A City of London employee has been charged with the attempted arson of a building that was meant to be used for homeless people.

Matti Kochi, 40, from Farringdon, was arrested last month and is accused of setting fire to a clubhouse at Belgrave golf course, just outside the capital, in October.

It is also alleged that Kochi set fire to rubbish bins nearby and a community kitchen used by homeless people.

A further charge of possession of an article for a suspicious purpose was dropped.

Kochi, who is on police bail, is due to appear before Thames Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Two other men have been bailed while enquiries continue, Thames Valley Police said.

The clubhouse was designed to host newly homeless people by charity Westminster A Fairer London (WAFL) before the firm dropped plans to develop the site, which was formerly host to stockbrokers and hedge fund managers.

Thames Valley Police said they are looking for the “person or persons responsible for placing the fire”.

In June, a homeless man died after a fire at a care home close to the City of London.

The man died of smoke inhalation after the fire broke out at the Queens Street Villa care home in Marylebone, where 33 elderly people lived.

A 30-year-old man was later charged with manslaughter.

A City of London spokesperson said the City Fringe project uses fixed units within the City of London – with businesses, including HSBC, Investec and HBC – to serve homeless people.

“All members of the City Fringe project are permanent housing homeless individuals, with community facilities and support services provided by various City fringes including Caritas.

“We take any allegations of criminal activity in the City extremely seriously and we are looking into this matter.”

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