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Teen set light to former partner’s flat, court told

A man allegedly set fire to an ex-girlfriend's west Belfast flat hours after she had moved out, the High Court has heard.

Gerard McKenna is charged with arson endangering life over the blaze at St James' Road which led to a man and woman being evacuated from neighbouring properties.

The 19-year-old, of Rockville Street in the city, also faces two counts of threats to kill and a threat to damage property in the incident on October 2.

In an apparent reference to one witness, he is alleged to have stated after arrest that he would “cut the throat of the fat b******” if he went to court about the case. McKenna was refused bail by a judge who held there was a prima facie case against him.

Emergency services called to the scene discovered a fire had been intentionally started inside the empty flat, the court heard.

There was no sign of a forced entry.

A neighbour claimed to have seen McKenna standing outside as fire crews arrived, according to the prosecution.

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Richard McConkey, defending, said his client denies threatening anybody.