Second guilty plea in deadly arson at Woodstock restaurant
One of three men tied to the 2009 fire at the Iron Grill restaurant in Woodstock has pleaded guilty to arson.
Usama Akhter entered his plea Thursday in a Woodstock court.
Court testimony has revealed that the fire was planned as a means to collect $5,000 in insurance money.
Instead, an explosion caused both Akhter and co-conspirator Mohammad Sarfraz to catch fire.
Sarfraz later died from his injuries, while Akhter spent six months in a coma, required skin grafts to 85 per cent of his body and lost his right leg.
Akhter was also charged with manslaughter, but that charge was withdrawn Thursday – largely due to his injuries.
“There is no period of custody I could impose that Mr. Akhter doesn’t already live in,” Justice Kelly Gordman said in court.
For arson, Akhter was sentenced to two years of house arrest and two years of probation.
Also convicted in this case was Arun Rajendiran, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to commit arson.
He was found dead last week, less than two months into his stay at a prison in Lindsay.
The final person alleged to be behind the fire, Jeyakumar Shanmuganthan, is believed to have fled Canada for Sri Lanka.