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“It went wrong” says man accused of starting fire which killed dad and two children, court told

A MAN accused of setting a house fire that killed a father and his two children told a friend "it went wrong", a court has heard.

Scott Snowden is on trial for the death of Thomas Sharkey, 55, at his home in Helensburgh, Argyll, in July 2011.

Mr Sharkey's wife Angela, 48, survived the fire which claimed the lives of the couple's eight-year-old daughter Bridget and son Thomas jnr, 21.

Snowden, 37, told friend Lee McCarthy, 31, that they needed to "act normal" in the aftermath of the fire, the High Court at Glasgow heard.

Witness Mr McCarthy, a former drug dealer who said he bought cocaine from Snowden, said he seemed nervous during a conversation they had about the Sharkey house fire on July 26 2011, two days after the fatal blaze.

He said that he told Snowden: "Yous (sic) are mental for doing that."

The witness said: "His reply was 'it went wrong'."

Snowden and Robert Jennings, 50, deny murder and attempted murder by setting the early-morning blaze with petrol, or similar accelerant, as the Sharkeys slept.

The witness told earlier of a pub conversation in which Snowden told him he planned to get Mr Sharkey shot.

He told the jury: "He says he was going to get Mr Sharkey shot so his cousin Mark Sharkey gets the blame of it."

Mr McCarthy agreed when judge Lord Matthews asked if the motive appeared to be to "cause some rift in the family".

Unemployed Mr McCarthy, released last week from a jail term for charges relating to supplying cocaine, was giving evidence for a second day.

The court heard that after the pub conversation Mr Sharkey organised a charity event at the town's Victoria Halls.

He said he told Snowden a week after the event: "I thought he was getting shot."

McCarthy said Snowden replied:"I've got something else in mind for him."

McCarthy said he believed that after the fire he was a police suspect.

Snowden's defence counsel Donald Findlay QC said: "There's a splendid motivation for shifting the blame onto somebody else."

The witness said that it was a motivation "to tell the truth".

Snowden and Jennings face 22 charges between them, all of which they deny.

Both men have lodged special defences of incrimination and alibi, with Snowden claiming he was in Mexico when the fire at the Sharkey home was allegedly started, while Jennings claims he was home alone in Helensburgh.

The trial before judge Lord Matthews is expected to last between eight and 10 weeks.

PA Media