Mindbender Turns Fire-Starter

Sixties pop star Wayne Fontana turned up to Derby Crown Court dressed as the Lady of Justice May 25 before admitting to setting fire to a bailiff’s car while the debt collector was still inside it.

"He regards this whole procedure as a pantomime. He has come dressed as a fool and he wants to act like a fool. I hope they give him a prison uniform at Nottingham Prison to keep him warm," said Judge Andrew Hamilton as he remanded the former Mindbenders’ frontman in custody and ordered a psychiatric report.

Fontana, real name: Glyn Ellis, turned up for the May 25 hearing wearing a crown and homemade cape similar to those on the statue above London’s Old Bailey.

He had to hand over his fake sword and scales to security guards, but did mange to keep the dark glasses he was wearing to illustrate his belief that "justice is blind."

Fontana allegedly poured petrol over the bonnet of bailiff Paul Stott’s car and ignited it while Stott was still sitting inside.

Fontana allegedly told the debt collector, "I am going to burn you."

He admitted arson and being reckless to whether life is endangered, but denied a more serious charge of arson with intent to endanger life, insisting Stott got out of the vehicle before it was engulfed in flames.

The singer carried out the attack February 1, when the bailiff visited his home in Glossop, Derbyshire.

Fontana could face up to 14 years in jail if it is decided he committed the more serious offense.

Hugh McKee, the defense barrister, said his client had no vendetta against bailiffs but admitted he had been "in considerable contact" with a number of them.

Fontana rose to fame in 1964 with his band, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, with hits including "Game of Love," although "Groovy Kind of Love" – the act’s biggest record – was recorded after he’d left the act in ’65.

The case was adjourned until July.