A father received a text message from the mother of his child telling him their relationship was over for good hours before he went on an arson spree that led to the death of a pensioner, a court heard.
Aiden Elmore allegedly set fire to a block of flats in Short Heath, and barricaded the doors, before starting two other fires and another blaze at his ex-girlfriend’s home.
A jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court heard evidence from Lauren Wellings about her relationship with Elmore.
The 17-year-old told the court she had seen 21-year-old Elmore twice on the day before he allegedly started the fires. The couple’s son was staying with Elmore’s mother, as he had decided to go out on the evening to celebrate his friend’s birthday. “We were speaking quite a bit on the night,” Miss Wellings told the court. “We were talking about getting back together.
“But at about 10.30pm I messaged him saying we were over for good.”
The fires took place from 2am onwards on October 8 last year.
During the fire at the block of flats, at the junction of Southey Close and Tennyson Road on the Poets Estate, resident Victor Moore, aged 68, collapsed and died while others were forced to jump out of windows.
The court has heard that Elmore had been seen holding a burning jacket on the night the fires took place.
Miss Wellings told the court that the yellow Adidas jacket had been been bought for him by her as a Father’s Day gift, but described their rocky relationship.
“Me and Aiden had been friends for years,” Miss Elmore told the court.
“We got together in March 2011 and have a son together. We used to live together.
“We used to split up all the time, have arguments and then get back together.”
Elmore, of no fixed address but previously of Essington Road, Willenhall, 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’ home.
The trial continues.