Jockey blaze deaths accused 'was angry'

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The Independent Online

A man accused of starting a fire in a block of flats which killed two apprentice jockeys appeared "angry" as he attempted to re-enter the blazing building, a jury was told today.

Peter Brown was seen "running up and down shouting and screaming", Leeds Crown Court heard.

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 in Norton, near Malton, North Yorkshire.

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.

The blaze claimed the lives of apprentice jockeys Jamie Kyne, 18, from Kiltrogue, Co Galway, Ireland, and Jan Wilson, 19, from Forfar, Scotland.

Today, Martin Brown, no relation to the defendant, told the jury he lived in a flat adjacent to the complex where the blaze started.

He said was woken in the early hours and recalled looking out of his window and saw the defendant in the forecourt.

The jury was told he remembered hearing a female voice screaming and he went to investigate. He said Peter Brown kicked a door to the blazing complex with his foot and it flew open.

"There were flames just coming out of the door," he told the jury.

He said the defendant "went to run in" and at one point he grabbed him to prevent him from entering the property.

He added: "I grabbed hold of his arm and said 'don't be so stupid'."

Moments later he said he heard a "great thud" as one of the residents fell to the ground from a window, and he shielded the eyes of a boy he was looking after.

Asked by Mr Richard Mansell QC, counsel for the prosecution, to describe the defendant's mood, he replied: "angry".

Defence barrister Paul Watson, QC, suggested his client was "frustrated".

"Angry because he just couldn't get in," Mr Brown replied.

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.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.