Newbury Park man set fire to £260k Ferrari in Emerson Park ‘for revenge’, court hears

Jurors were shown this photo of the burned out Ferrari in the drive of a home on Nelmes Crescent, Em

Jurors were shown this photo of the burned out Ferrari in the drive of a home on Nelmes Crescent, Emerson Park in September 2016. Photo cedit: Jaimee Spraggon - Credit: Jaimee Spraggon (taken from Twit

A Newbury Park man alleged to have torched a £260,000 Ferrari outside a house in Emerson Park was taking revenge for a property deal that went wrong, a court has heard.

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: Ken Mears

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Wasim Ahmad Mir, 47, of Cranley Drive, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court yesterday (December 11) accused of arson and damaging property.

Angela Bassi was sleeping with her two young daughters in a bedroom at the front of the family home in Nelmes Crescent when she was woken by a loud bang just before 3am on September 7, 2016, the court heard.

Dr Bassi jumped out of bed on hearing a car alarm, pulled back the curtains and saw her top-of-the-range, Ferrari Spider in flames.

She grabbed her daughters and fled into a back room after calling the fire brigade.

“When I saw the car I felt scared, frightened, anxious and wanted to escape and was worried for my daughters. I thought the car might blow up,” she said in a statement read in court.

Prosecuting lawyer, Usha Shergill, said Mr Mir was out for revenge over a failed property deal with Raja Bassi, Dr Bassi’s husband.

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A petrol can found on a wall at the house and a matchbox Mr Bassi found near the car both had Mr Mir’s DNA on them, the jury heard.

They were shown a photo of the burnt up Ferrari published in the Recorder showing the green jerry can on a wall at the detached house.

Ms Shergill said Mr Bassi was with his parents in Ilford on the night of the fire, but rushed home after his wife called.

At the time of the fire, Mr Raja had been a director of ABC Gone, an estate agent’s in Ilford, which struck a deal to sell a Chelmsford property owned by Mr Mir that fell through, the court heard.

Mr Raja said he met the defendant at a funeral in August 2016 where he alleged Mr Mir had threatened him, saying: “It’s not over yet. Watch your back. You’ll be hearing from somebody soon.”

Defence lawyer Charles Conway argued that ABC Gone had had problems with Mr Mir who had accused the firm of stalling the sale to drive up its commission.

He added Mr Mir had threatened to sue the company for £500,000.

“Mr Mir was being a thorn in your flesh because he was threatening to sue you, wasn’t he? At the funeral he said, ‘You will be hearing from me again’. Was that a reference to him suing you?” Mr Conway asked.

Mr Raja said no and went on to deny asking to borrow a petrol can from Mr Mir a few weeks before the fire for a friend who he said had broken down.

He also denied planting the matchbox.

“Because of all the problems you were having with him you decided to fit him up so you could get insurance money and get this man in prison out of the way,” Mr Conway said.

Mr Raja replied “That’s false, that’s wrong.”

When interviewed following his arrest in November 2016 Mr Mir refused to answer questions, the court heard.

During the trial, the jury watched CCTV from a house three doors down showing a hooded man get out and walk towards the Bassi’s home after a car pulls up.

Minutes later he returns carrying something before getting unaided into the unidentified car which drives off.

The jury heard that Mr Mir at the time of the fire had a fractured ankle, tibia and fibia.

A report by Hornchurch fire station’s Craig White, who was at the fire, said the chances of the car exploding were slim, but if the flames had spread to the house lives could have been threatened.

Mr Mir pleads not guilty to one count of damaging property and being reckless as to whether life was in danger and a second count of arson.

The trial continues.