Man jailed over jockey blaze deaths
A labourer has been told 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, Ireland, and Jan Wilson, 19, from Forfar, Scotland, who slept on the floor above where the party had been.
Brown, 37, of Brotherton, North Yorkshire, but originally from the Aberdeen area of Scotland, was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter and given an indeterminate sentence for public protection when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court.
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.
He set light to rubbish in the stairwell after he returned from a drinking session in local pubs. The judge said 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.
But 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, but Ms Wilson and Mr Kyne were trapped at the top of the building.
Passing sentence, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies said independent assessments had concluded that Brown still poses a significant risk to the public.
In particular, the judge said Brown showed a lack of control when faced with 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."