Man charged with murder over Ashley Gillard death

Ashley Gillard
Ashley Gillard

A man accused of setting fire to a third-floor flat in which a hairdresser was found dead was today charged with murder.

Ashley Gillard’s body was found inside a third-floor riverside flat in Trevithick Court, Wolverton, following a blaze in June.

A post mortem examination into the cause of the 31-year-old hairdresser’s death proved inconclusive and further tests were ordered.

Thomas White, 25, was arrested and charged with arson with intent to endanger life along with two counts of taking a vehicle without consent.

However today Matthew Lowe, defending, revealed his client had now been charged with murder.

Brown-haired White appeared before a judge in Amersham this afternoon via a prison video link.

Dressed in a beige polo shirt, he entered no pleas and spoke only to confirm his name as a series of charges were discussed.

Judge Francis Sheridan said: “These matters are already before the court.

“However this morning, as I understand it, the defendant was charged with murder.”

He added: “It’s indictable only and therefore must be tried at the crown court. I therefore send it to crown court for trial.”

Emergency services were called to the block of riverside flats just before midnight on June 9 after neighbours spotted smoke billowing from the third floor flat.

When firefighters arrived they found the door to the property had been barricaded shut and more than 30 firefighters were called to the scene to try to tackle the blaze.

Once inside, they made the discovery of a body - later identified as hair stylist Mr Gillard.

White was later arrested on suspicion of starting the fire and charged with arson with intent to endanger life.

He was also charged with two counts of taking a vehicle without consent, relating to the theft of a forklift truck and a BMW on June 8.

A further arson charge relates to the arson of a Peugeot vehicle and he was further charged with one count of fraud and possessing a class B and class C drug.

Judge Sheridan told bearded White: “The case will be transferred to Luton Crown Court for the next hearing.

“You will be remanded in custody. There is no application for bail.”

White, of Bibury Close, Wellingborough, was remanded in custody for a plea and case management hearing in Luton on January 4, 2016.