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Tramp hearing told boy had fascination with fire; COURT: Injured man was a human fireball.

A POLICE officer has told a court that a boy accused of setting a tramp alight had an ``unhealthy interest'' in fire.

The boy and a friend, both 16, allegedly used a cigarette lighter to turn Billy Williams into a human fireball.

Sgt Michael Richards said they had been fascinated by a burnt out car on the night Mr Williams, 67, was injured.

He said, ``I was checking on a Vauxhall Nova that had been burnt out when the older boy came along on a bicycle.

``He asked me what had happened and who did it. I considered he had an unhealthy interest in the fire and searched him.''

Cardiff Crown Court heard two disposable cigarette lighters were found on the boy.

Sgt Richards said, ``His friend then arrived to look at the car.

``He told me he had nothing to do with the fire and I could search him if I wanted. I did, but found nothing.''

The two boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are accused of ``cruelly and inhumanely'' using a cigarette lighter to set fire to Mr Williams.

One boy is alleged to have said, ``He was only a tramp.''

The pair both deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent and inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Williams.

Mr Williams, described as a colourful local character, died three months after the fire in Roath, Cardiff.

The court has heard his death could not be linked to the fire injuries.

The trial continues.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 6, 2002
Words:248
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