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Laughing trio started fires at two homes court is told

By Paul Higgins

Published 26/09/2007

Three "laughing and cheering" men allegedly set fire to two houses ten doors apart, a trial heard yesterday.



Belfast Crown Court Judge Patrick Lynch QC also heard that fortunately, the two householders were awoken and managed to get the fires extinguished before running from their homes.

In the dock denying two charges of arson endangering life and two further counts of being reckless in regard to their own lives on July 29 last year are 22-year-old's Sean Dickey and Sean Moloney, both from the Cavehill Road, and 23-year-old Patrick James Quinn, from Glantane Avenue in Glengormley.

Moloney is further charged with resisting a constable while Dickey has pleaded guilty to having a hand-held crossbow in a public place.

Opening the Crown case, prosecuting QC Ken McMahon said that within minutes of each other, the two houses on Westland Drive were set on fire in " strikingly similar fashion," namely that petrol had been poured through the letterbox and set alight.

Both occupants, a man and a woman in their 50s, had been asleep at the time but, said the lawyer, fortunately both were awoken.

Mr McMahon said clothing taken from the defendants was sent for forensic examination and while no evidence of petrol was found on Dickey's shoes or jeans, Moloney's top, tracksuit bottoms and trainers all "gave positive results for petrol".

During interviews all three denied causing the fires.

The trial continues.

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