A policeman has described the dramatic moment he discovered a fire at a block of flats which killed a pensioner.
Pc Paul Florey told the jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court how he ‘kicked open the garden gates’ when he saw the blaze at the flats in Willenhall.
Pc Florey said he saw a wheelie bin on fire close to a back door and pulled it away from the building. Aiden Elmore, aged 21, is accused of starting a string of fires which allegedly ended with an arson attack at his ex-girlfriend Lauren Wellings’ home in Wychbold Way in nearby New Invention.
During the flat block blaze resident Victor Moore, aged 68, collapsed and died while others were forced to jump out of windows at the flats at the junction of Southey Close and Tennyson Road on the Poets Estate, in Short Heath, Willenhall.
Pc Florey told the court: “I kicked open the garden gates. The bin had melted and the flames were high up to the doorway.”
The court also heard yesterday from Karl Whitehouse, manager of Poets House pub in Keats Road, where Elmore had been drinking on the night. Jurors were also shown video footage of Elmore allegedly setting fire to the home of his ex-girlfriend. Dc Helen Robbins, of West Midlands Police murder investigation unit, said the images showed a figure entering and leaving via the garden several times which investigations revealed to be Elmore. The fires took place from 2am onwards on October 8 last year.
Elmore, of no fixed address but previously of Essington Road in New Invention, denies murder, two counts of arson with intent to endanger life and one count of being reckless as to whether life was endangered.He has admitted one count of being reckless as to whether life was endangered in relation to the fire at Miss Wellings’s home.
The trial continues.