Death blaze accused 'said someone's done this'

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The Independent Online

A survivor of a blaze which killed two young jockeys told a jury today that the man accused of starting the fire was pacing up and down before firefighters arrived, saying "Someone's done this".

Chef Christopher Crosby described how he escaped from the flames in a block of flats in Norton, near Malton, North Yorkshire, in the early hours of September 5 last year by jumping from a window.

Leeds Crown Court has heard the fire claimed the lives of apprentice jockeys Jamie Kyne, 18, from Kiltrogue, Co Galway, Ireland, and Jan Wilson, 19, from Forfar, Scotland.

Today, Mr Crosby told the jury he and his girlfriend went to the front of the block after both jumped to safety and he found a number of people had gathered, including Peter Brown, who is accused of starting the fire.

He said: "He (Brown) was pacing up and down. He looked angry and drunk as well."

Mr Crosby said Brown was talking to himself and, asked what he was saying, he said: "I remember him saying 'Someone's done this'."

He told the jury Brown probably said this twice and added: "It was as if he was trying to pin the blame to someone."

Earlier, Mr Crosby described how he and his girlfriend, Leonie Lenaghan, were woken by fire alarms before they escaped.

He said he encouraged jockey Ian Brennan to jump after he was spotted hanging from a window on the top floor.

Mr Crosby described how he broke Mr Brennan's fall as he jumped from the flat he had been in with Mr Kyne and Mr Wilson when the fire broke out.

Brown, of School Croft, Brotherton, North Yorkshire, denies two charges of murder, two charges of manslaughter and one of arson with intent to endanger life.

Miss Lenaghan told the jury that people from the flats gathered in the nearby Railway Tavern.

She said did not know about Mr Kyne's death until Brown mentioned it.

"Pete said we should stop talking about Jamie because he's dead," she said.

"It was horrible the way he said it to us."

Miss Lenaghan and Mr Crosby lived together in a flat below the one in which the two jockeys died, the court heard.

They were giving evidence on the fourth day of the trial.

Prosecutors have told the jury of six men and six women that Brown, 37, started the blaze when he lit rubbish in the communal entrance to the block of flats known as Buckrose Court.

The prosecution case is that a drunken Brown torched the complex as an act of "revenge" after he was refused entry to a party in one of the flats.

The fire "raged" through the building, forcing many of the occupants to jump for their lives.

Miss Wilson, who had been staying with her boyfriend, Mr Brennan, and Mr Kyne were asleep in a top-floor flat when the alarm was raised.

The court has heard that Brown - who later described himself to police as a "drunken Scotsman" - had been drinking in several pubs before the fire started.

In the meantime, a party had been going on mainly in Flat 4 at Buckrose Court but those attending also went in and out of Flat 5 - the one where the two jockeys died.