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Man denies arson attack on yard.

A man torched a timber yard during the firefighters' strike two years ago after his marriage to the owner's daughter turned sour, a court was told yesterday.

Neil Stubbs said he would "fire" father-in-law Alan Dover after a row erupted on November 28, 2002.

Newcastle Crown Court was told that within 12 hours of the 40-year-old issuing the threat, North East Timber Supplies in Easington Lane, Houghton-le-Spring was ablaze.

Because the fire service was on strike at the time the Army attended the scene with a Green Goddess to tackle the blaze.

Prosecutor Ian Graham told the court how Mr Dover did not approve of Stubbs's relationship with his daughter Michelle but the pair married at Gretna Green.

Mr Graham said things quickly turned sour and the defendant started to make threats about Michelle's father saying he would fire him.

"By that he did not mean he was going to get him sacked, but damage his premises by fire."

Mr Graham told the court how a row broke out with Michelle at Mr Dover's home the night before the blaze.

"He told her it was payback time and issued threats ending up with `I'm going to fire him for good'. Within 12 hours there was a fire at the timber yard."

The court heard how Kerosene was used as an accelerant to start the blaze. A container of kerosene was found in Stubbs's car.

Stubbs, of Elemore Lane, Easington Lane, Houghton-le-Spring, denies arson.

The trial continues today.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 17, 2004
Words:247
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