Budgie saved as flat burns

A man carried his budgerigar to safety then doused his flat with petrol and set it alight as his wife and her family slept inside, an Old Bailey court was told yesterday.

Wilfred Harte, 65, of Walworth, south-east London, was said to be angry because his step-daughter, her husband and their two children were always watching television and running up a large electricity bill.

Neil Saunders, for the prosecution, said Mr Harte snapped when they came to stay and stayed up watching television until 5am. He added that it was a miracle no one was killed.

Mr Harte denies arson with intent to endanger life, but admits a lesser charge.

The trial continues today.

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