Friday 24 March 2017

Stablehand breaks down as court hears flats blaze 999 call

Alistair Keely

A STABLEHAND who escaped from a blaze at a block of flats that claimed the life of a young Irish jockey broke down in tears yesterday as a jury was played a recording of a 999 call she made.

Lizzie Murphy (18) had to be led from Leeds Crown Court in Yorkshire, England, in tears as the audio clip was played to the jury.

During the brief call, she frantically asked for help as the blaze took hold at the flat where she was sleeping with her boyfriend Liam Foley.

The fire claimed the lives of apprentice jockeys Jamie Kyne (18), from Kiltrogue, Co Galway, and Jan Wilson (19), from Forfar, Scotland.

Several friends and relatives of the two victims had to be comforted as the emergency call was played to the jury.

It is claimed father-of-one Peter Brown (37) lit a fire in the communal entrance to the block in Norton, near Malton, North Yorkshire.

Prosecutors said a drunken Mr Brown set fire to the complex as an act of "revenge" after he was refused entry to a party.

The fire "raged" through the building forcing many of the occupants to jump for their lives.

Between screams, Ms Murphy is heard saying: "We've got a fire and we can't get out."

She was repeatedly told to calm down and that help was on the way. On the recording she is heard screaming and saying: "I'm climbing out."

Before the 999 call was played, Ms Murphy told the court several friends attended a party at the flats complex.

Alarm

Ms Murphy said she and her friends were a bit "tipsy" but she went to bed at 12.45am on September 5 last year as she was working later that day.

She said she woke to hear a faint alarm sounding and went to investigate on her landing. She said she could see the flames licking at the railings below her.

She said she was "a bit hysterical" as she went back into her flat, alerted her boyfriend and phoned the emergency services.

Ms Murphy described how she and her boyfriend escaped by climbing out of the first-floor bedroom window and down a drainpipe to safety.

When on the ground, she noticed Mr Brown taking off his jumper. She said he wrapped it around his head and tried to enter the flats, but was beaten back. Later, he allegedly told her: "This is your fault, this is what you get when you have parties."

Mr Brown, of School Croft, Brotherton, North Yorkshire, denies two charges of murder, two alternative charges of manslaughter and a charge of arson with intent to endanger life. The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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