Brahma Kumaris meditation centre arsonist awaits fate

Update: Finch received a 5-year prison sentence and restraining order.

The sentencing of a man found guilty of religiously-motivated arson has been postponed.

Stephen Finch, 52, expected to receive a prison sentence earlier this month after pleading guilty to two counts of arson, which targeted a house, and Brahma Kumaris religious hub in Chelmsford. But that sentencing is delayed pending a psychological assessment.

Judge Anthony Goldstaub told the court, “Here we have somebody who appears on the face of it to have some mental health concern with a particular group of people, the Brahma Kumaris group, and one would want to know how if at all he is dangerous. I think he ought to see a proper psychiatrist and have a full report.”

In early April, another judge stated that Mr Finch had a “falling out” with the Brahma Kumaris.

The centre’s doormat was set ablaze on Boxing Day last year and the flames engulfed the building (possibly after materials were pushed through the letterbox). Estimates place the damage at around £20,000 – a majority relates to damage to the roof and roughly £4,000 of stock.

Finch was later arrested following a house blaze in Kelvedon Hatch on January 16.

He later plead guilty to two counts of religiously aggravated criminal damage and two counts of ‘arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered’.