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Byline: James Woodward

A TEENAGE gang killed a mother in a prank by pushing a lit firework through her letterbox after a string of bullying attacks on her son, a court has been told.

Mary Fox, aged 59, died in the fire in Bodmin, Cornwall, on Bon-fire Night last year after the Silver Dart was thrust inside to "frighten" the family, a jury heard.

Her son Raum, then aged 17, escaped through a window of the blazing council home in Wallace Road, but his mother inhaled a fatal amount of fumes. Owen Hewitt and Ryan Croft, both 18, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named, later "laughed and joked" that the burning house belonged to Raum's mother, Truro Crown Court heard.

Opening the case to the jury prosecutor Paul Dunkels QC said: "On November 5 last year, three young men were wandering around Bodmin with a large quantity of fireworks.

"They took a rocket, snapped the stick off it, lit it and put it through the letter box of the home of Mary Fox and her son Raum at 51 Wallace Road.

"It set fire to the house. Raum was able to escape by jumping out of the first floor window. Mary Fox could not get out. She was overcome by fumes and smoke from the fire, and died." The group did not intend such dire consequences but only wanted to "give the occupants a fright," Mr Dunkels added. Hewitt, of Bodmin Foyer, Kestenenn, and the younger defendant have pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Mrs Fox, and also denied a charge of arson being reckless as to whether the life of Raum was endangered.

Croft, of Wallace Road, had earlier admitted both allegations, the jury heard.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 12, 2010
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