A labourer has been found guilty of killing two young jockeys by setting light to a block of flats in a drunken revenge attack.
Peter Brown (37) started a fire at Buckrose Court in Norton, North Yorkshire, that killed Jamie Kyne (18), from Kiltrogue, Co Galway, and Jan Wilson (19), from Forfar, Scotland.
A jury at Leeds Crown Court heard drunken Brown, who is originally from the Aberdeen area, torched the complex as an act of revenge after he was refused entry to a party in one of the flats last September.
He was cleared by the jury of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.
Brown, who looked at the jury foreman as the verdicts were delivered, was also acquitted of arson with intent to endanger life.
The jury of six men and six women took 13 hours to reach their verdicts.
Friends and relatives of the two victims said “yes” as the manslaughter verdicts were delivered and comforted each other in the public gallery.
Mrs Justice Nicola Davies adjourned sentence for the completion of a pre-sentence report, adding: “So I can have full information about the danger you pose.”
Jan Hills, District Crown Prosecutor for CPS North Yorkshire, said Brown's act of revenge “robbed” the families of Jan Wilson and Jamie Kyne of their loved ones and deprived the sporting world of two rising talents.
Ms Hills said: “This utterly senseless act perpetrated by Peter Brown led to the tragic death of two young people, both of whom had their whole lives and promising sporting careers ahead of them.
“In setting fire to the block of flats, he cruelly snuffed out that youthful potential, all for the sake of a perceived slight after being refused access to a party.”
The jury heard that Brown — who had a long-standing problem with drink — torched the block of flats next to the one where lived because he was refused entry to a party.
He worked as a caretaker in the complex and had a prickly relationship with the women who lived in the flat where the party was taking place.
The two jockeys lived on the floor above where the party had been.
The jury was told that a drunken Brown used white spirit to 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 fire quickly took hold in the early hours of September 5 as the stairwell acted like a chimney to fan the flames.
Residents had to jump for their lives from windows or climb down drainpipes to escape. Wilson and Kyne were trapped at the top of the building.
Kyne lived in the flat with fellow jockey Ian Brennan. Wilson was Brennan's girlfriend and had been staying over.
Father-of-one Brown did not give evidence in his trial, which lasted just over a fortnight.
Throughout the proceedings he sat in the dock flanked by a security guard, occasionally making notes on an A4 pad.
Following the verdict, the two families issued a joint statement.
It said: “Peter Brown has robbed us of two wonderfully young people who had so much to live for.
“When Jan and Jamie died, a part of each one of us died with them.
“He has left us all shattered and our lives will never be the same again.
“We are pleased that he has now been held accountable for the devastating events of last September, however no punishment will ever bring Jan and Jamie back.
“They have both been denied a great future and lifestyle in a sport they loved so much and had triumphed in.”