Arsonist who killed Irish jockey and friend jailed for seven years
Published 11/12/2010 | 05:00
THE family of a tragic jockey hopes the sentencing of his killer yesterday will finally bring closure to their nightmare.
Jamie Kyne (18) from Kiltrogue, Claregalway, Co Galway, and fellow apprentice jockey Jan Wilson (19) from Forfar in Scotland were both killed when their flat was torched in a drunken revenge attack.
Caretaker Peter Brown started a fire after being refused entry to a party at flats in Norton, North Yorkshire, in September last year. The blaze ripped through the block, killing both young jockeys.
Brown (37) of Brotherton, North Yorkshire, was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter and given an indeterminate sentence for public protection when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court yesterday. He was told he must serve at least seven-and-a-half years in prison.
Passing sentence, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies said independent assessments had concluded Brown still posed a significant risk to the public.
In particular, the judge said Brown showed a lack of control when faced by rejection -- as demonstrated by his actions on the night of the fire.
She said: "Jamie Kyne's family has lost a much-loved son, grandson and brother. Jan Wilson's family has lost a much-loved daughter and granddaughter. For them, life will never again be the same."
The jury heard that Brown -- who had a long-standing problem with drink -- worked as a caretaker in the flats complex and had a prickly relationship with the women who lived in the flat where the party was taking place.
The two jockeys slept on the floor above where the party had been.
The jury was told that a drunken Brown set light to rubbish in the stairwell after he returned from a drinking session in local pubs.
The judge said the evidence was inconclusive that Brown had used white spirit to start the fire. She said the verdicts showed that Brown intended to "frighten or smoke out" the occupants.
The fire quickly took hold in the early hours of September 5 last year as the stairwell acted like a chimney. Residents had to jump for their lives from windows or climb down drainpipes to escape.
Jamie Kyne and Jan Wilson were trapped at the top of the building.
Brown, who was dressed in a red jumper, white shirt and dark trousers, appeared to smirk at times during the sentencing.
His lawyer said his client still "vehemently and comprehensively" denied he was responsible for the fire and he offered little mitigation.
After sentencing Brown, the judge turned to the packed public gallery to praise the "dignity and restraint" shown by the relatives of the victims and their "strength of character."
She said: "I have read the statements from members of the family and the impact of their deaths upon all of you. No one reading those statements can fail to be moved by them."