A man carried his budgerigar to safety then doused his home with petrol and set fire to it as his wife and her family slept inside, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.
Wilfred Harte, 65, of Hopwood Road, Walworth, south- east London, was said to be angry because they were always watching television and running up a large electricity bill.
The prosecution said it was a miracle no one was killed.
Harte denies arson with intent to endanger life, but admits a lesser charge. The trial was adjourned until today.