Two men accused of setting fire to Pärnu morgue to appear in court

The burnt-out Pärnu funeral home.
The burnt-out Pärnu funeral home. Source: ERR

Two men who allegedly set fire to a Pärnu mortuary last summer are soon to appear in court. In a separate charge, one of the pair stands accused of abuse of a corpse (Estonian: laibarüvetamine). Both men had worked for a competing morgue, it is reported.

Last August, a fire broke out in a Pärnu funeral home at the Sillutise street chapel on Viimne tee, with authorities soon establishing that arson had been the cause. A suspect, Edgar Põldsam, was arrested at the end of October 2019.

During the investigation, it was found that Põldsam set fire to the chapel/morgue after allegedly being encouraged to do so by an acquaintance, Silver Sarapik.

Over a €40,000 worth of damage was caused by the arson, ERR's online Estonian news reports.

According to the Western District Prosecutor´s Office´s prosecutor of special affairs Kaido Tuulemäe, the actual motive has not been identified yet.

"It is not clear enough to say that the individuals set dire to the chapel under 'competitive' circumstances. We can assume that was the case, but it hasn´t been proven during the procedure. Both individuals were associated with acompeting funeral home. This competitor company is not itself associated with the arson," Tuulemäe said.

Põldsam has also been charged with abusing a corpse since, while working in a crematorium, he allegedly took pictures of two bodies brought in for cremation. According to the prosecutor, both men have admitted their guilt in the pre-litigation procedure. The preliminary hearing on Tuesday, April 8, set a procedures start date in October.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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