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Judge blasts blaze man.

A Redcar man - cleared by a jury of torching his own bedroom after a Christmas Eve "domestic" - was given a severe ticking-off by a Crown Court judge.

Anthony Moroney, 40, formerly of Newton Road, told the court how he and his former girlfriend regularly spent most of the day in bed drinking cider, chain smoking and sleeping.

Moroney, who told the court his only explanation for the bedroom fire, which the prosecution claimed had left his terrified partner trapped in a smoke filled room, was that one of them had gone to sleep holding a lighted cigarette.

The prosecution claimed he had deliberately set fire to the bed clothes, held the door shut to keep his partner trapped inside and had attacked her when police arrived at the house.

He denied charges of arson, reckless as to whether life was endangered, false imprisonment and assault causing actual bodily harm.

He was cleared of the assault and false imprisonment charges during the trial at Teesside Crown Court, Judge John Walford telling the jury that the prosecution evidence "had not reached first base".

The jury returned its not guilty verdict on the arson charge after hearing Moroney had no idea what had happened that day.

Judge Walford told Moroney: "This was not a very edifying case. There are lessons you can learn from it. One is not to drink in this sort of way and perhaps lead a more productive lifestyle."
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 4, 2004
Words:239
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