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Court hears day-of-fire interview with defendant.

THE jury in the trial of Peter Brown, the man accused of the murder of jockeys Jamie Kyne and Jan Wilson in a fatal fire, heard an interview yesterday that he had given to police on the day of the blaze, hours before he was arrested, writes Barry Smyth.

Brown was considered a potentially important witness following the fire in which Kyne, 18, from Kiltrogue, County Galway, Ireland, and Jan Wilson, 19, of Forfar, Angus, Scotland, died on September 5 last year.

Brown, 37, of Brotherton, North Yorkshire, denies two murder charges.

Leeds Crown Court heard that Detective Constable Christopher Hogg met with Brown in the Railway Tavern, a bar just opposite the block of flats in Norton, near Malton, North Yorkshire, where the fire had taken place.

Detective Constable Hogg told the court that they wanted to get Brown on tape to make sure they captured all the evidence, and that he accompanied him to Malton police station where the recording equipment was.

While reading out the transcript of the interview on Friday, Richard Wright, of the prosecution team, asked the questions while Hogg responded with Brown's answers. Brown told the officer that he knew one man jumped out of the flats and that two people were missing, who he presumed were dead.

The court heard in Brown's interview that he went out to buy cigarettes around 10pm on September 4 and encountered some people in flat four hanging out of a window, passing comments to him.

He described everyone in the flat as being drunk and said one of the residents, Elizabeth [Murphy], called him an idiot as he left to go to the shops.

Brown said he came back to his flat for a drink before deciding to head out for a beer. He noticed a lot of noise coming from flat four and complained to the landlord as he left.

He was unsure whether the fire was already burning when he arrived back at the flats or whether he had gone up to his flat and then it had started.

Brown told the officer that he thought he went into autopilot when he realised what was going on and that was why he could not remember some events.

The court heard that he attempted to get into the building but was driven back by the intense heat. He told the officer that the landlord had a lot of flatpack furniture under the stairs, and that could have been where the fire began.

Brown took part in two other short interviews that day before Hogg left the room to confer with another officer. When he returned the interview was terminated and Brown was arrested.

Earlier police officers giving evidence described Brown as acting in a confrontational and aggressive manner when they arrived at the scene of the fire.

The prosecution alleges that Brown set fire to the flats in the early hours of September 5 as an act of "revenge" after he was refused entry to a party. Brown is alleged to have "deliberately lit" a pile of rubbish in the communal entrance to the block, using an accelerant, possibly white spirit.

The jury of six men and six women has been told that Brown had been drinking in several pubs before the fire started.

Brown also denies two alternative charges of manslaughter and one charge of arson with intent to endanger life.

The trial continues.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 8, 2010
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