Killer wanted to “kill and injure as many people as possible” in an arson attack.

Kigundu burned down more than 20 houses in the block of flats where he lived (Image: Thames Valley Police/SWNS)

Hakeem Kigundu burned down more than 20 houses in his block of flats (Image: Thames Valley Police/SWNS)

A double killer behind a devastating fire that killed two men wanted “to kill and injure as many people as possible,” a court has heard.

Hakeem Kigundu, 32, was facing eviction from Rowe Court in Reading.

In response, he started a fire that spread and caused extensive damage through his apartment building, trapping residents inside.

Richard Burgess, 46, and Neil Morris, 45, both died in the fire.

Others were left with significant injuries trying to flee or even jump from their homes to safety.

“Countless” others lost their homes.

In September, Kigundu pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of setting fire with intent to endanger life.

During his sentencing hearing today, prosecutors said Kigundu soaked the area with gasoline before starting the fire, which quickly spread through the building.

Shockingly, just six days before the killings, he wrote in an audio “diary” warning of the impending attack.

Neil Morris. See SWNS story SWCCflats. Killer convicted of double murder after setting fire to apartment block ***MORE MATERIALS TO FOLLOW*** A man has pleaded guilty to arson, aggravated assault and murder after setting fire to a block of flats in Reading, according to an investigation by the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit.Hakeem Kigundu, aged 32 , formerly Rowe Court, Reading, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of setting fire with intent to endanger life at Reading Crown Court on 20 September. On December 15, 2021, Kigundu started a fire in a block of flats in Rowe Court, Reading, where he had been staying.

Neil Morris died after the flames spread to Rowe Court (Image: Thames Valley Police / SWNS)

Richard Burgess. See SWNS story SWCCflats. Killer convicted of double murder after setting fire to apartment block ***MORE MATERIALS TO FOLLOW*** A man has pleaded guilty to arson, aggravated assault and murder after setting fire to a block of flats in Reading, according to an investigation by the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit.Hakeem Kigundu, aged 32 , formerly Rowe Court, Reading, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of setting fire with intent to endanger life at Reading Crown Court on 20 September. On December 15, 2021, Kigundu started a fire in a block of flats in Rowe Court, Reading, where he had been staying.

Richard Burgess also died in the fire (Image: Thames Valley Police / SWNS)

The prosecutor told Reading Crown Court: “In the early hours of December 15, the defendant committed a deliberate and devastating arson attack with intent to kill and injure as many people as possible.

“These events were carefully planned by him days and weeks in advance, including the procurement of a substantial quantity of fuel for this attack.

“He started the fire in the middle of the night knowing it would cause the maximum amount of death, damage and destruction. This catastrophic fire resulted in the deaths of Neil Morris and Richard Burgess.

“Both could not escape the overwhelming effect of the smoke and flames.”

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Kigundu was captured by CCTV at a petrol station in Basingstoke Road, Reading on 11 December 2021 (Image: Thames Valley Police/SWNS)

20/09/2022 - READING - Custody picture of Hakeem Kigundu - A man who burned down more than 20 houses in the block of flats where he lived in Reading, killing two of his neighbors and injuring two others, has admitted to the murder. Hakeem Kigundu accepted responsibility for the devastating arson attack before a judge at Reading Crown Court on Tuesday 20 September. The 32-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of dangerous bodily harm and one count of intentional arson. On December 15, 2021, Kigundu started a fire in the building where he was staying. The fire spread, trapping residents and causing extensive damage to the block of flats. Kigundu was arrested the same day and charged on December 17 last year. Two of the residents, Richard Burgess, 46, and Neil Morris, 45, were killed in the fire. Two other people were seriously injured as a result of Kigundu's actions. PICTURE: UNPIXS 09/20/2022

A chilling voice memo recorded by the arsonist was played in court (Image: TVP/UNPIXS)

The court heard the apartments were spread over three floors and shocking video footage was shown revealing the extent of damage both inside and outside the block.

All houses were destroyed by the extent of the fire.

Kigundu was believed to be a Ugandan national who had entered the UK illegally using his brother’s passport, the court was also told.

He signed a 12-month lease in November 2020 but had caused trouble from his neighbors over noise pollution including loud music and slamming doors.

Injuries to Joel Richards. See SWNS story SWCCflats. Killer convicted of double murder after setting fire to apartment block ***MORE MATERIALS TO FOLLOW*** A man has pleaded guilty to arson, aggravated assault and murder after setting fire to a block of flats in Reading, according to an investigation by the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit.Hakeem Kigundu, aged 32 , formerly Rowe Court, Reading, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of setting fire with intent to endanger life at Reading Crown Court on 20 September. On December 15, 2021, Kigundu started a fire in a block of flats in Rowe Court, Reading, where he had been staying.

Injuries to Joel Richards, who was at home when the fire broke out (Image: Thames Valley Police / SWNS)

Kigundu received an eviction notice from his landlord and was told to vacate by December 14. He also lost his job at BT around the same time.

Prosecutors said: “The combination of job loss and anger at the eviction marked the beginning of the preparatory steps in relation to the attack.”

Video played in court shows him filling containers with gasoline and other items he used in the attack just two days before the attack.

It also played his terrifying audio diary, which he recorded on December 9th.

In it he said: “I can feel my time running out. Now I just seek inner peace before I die. I want to die with a smile on my face.

“All the actions I’m going to take are justified, believe me – they all led to it.”

The two-day sentencing process continues.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/06/murderer-wanted-to-kill-and-hurt-as-many-people-as-possible-in-arson-attack-17516877/ Killer wanted to "kill and injure as many people as possible" in an arson attack.

Justin Scacco

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