An alleged Cowley Road arsonist has appeared in court.

Robert Steele, 24, is accused of setting the fire that gutted a top floor bedroom in the property on the corner of Cowley Road and Southfield Road on Monday, November 1. Prosecutors have charged him with 'racially-aggravated' arson.

Oxfordshire fire service received a number of 999 calls about the blaze at around 9.30am.

At the time, watch manager Dan Shepherd said: “The fire damage sustained was limited to the one bedroom and thankfully all persons were accounted for after a full search of the building.”

Appearing before Oxford Crown Court on Wednesday, Steele, of St Andrews Road, Birmingham, entered no pleas to allegations of racially aggravated arson with intent to endanger life and related charges of arson.

His barrister, Gordanna Austin, asked for an adjournment so psychiatric reports could be written.

Judge Michael Gledhill QC remanded Steele, who stood in the dock in a grey tracksuit, into custody ahead of a hearing on January 19 next year.

Fire on Cowley Road. Picture: Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue

Fire on Cowley Road. Picture: Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue

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