Friday 22 September 2017

Labourer jailed for jockeys' blaze deaths

A labourer was told today that he must serve at least seven and a half years in prison for killing two promising young jockeys who died when he torched a flat in a drunken revenge attack.

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 Jamie Kyne, 18, from Kiltrogue, Co Galway and Jan Wilson, 19, from Forfar, Scotland.

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 today.

Passing sentence, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies said independent assessments had concluded that 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 told him: "The offences of which you have been convicted are extremely serious. As a result of your actions, two young people, aged 18 and 19, both of whom had embarked on promising careers in the field of horse racing, lost their lives.

"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."

Brown was cleared of murder but found guilty of the manslaughter of the riders following a 16-day trial at Leeds Crown Court last May.

Brown, who is originally from the Aberdeen area of Scotland, was also cleared of arson with intent to endanger life.

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 in the early hours of the morning.

The judge said today that 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.

Ms Wilson and Mr Kyne were trapped at the top of the building.

Mr Kyne lived in the flat with fellow jockey Ian Brennan. Ms Wilson was Mr Brennan's girlfriend and had been staying over.

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