An alleged arsonist accused of sparking a fire at a block of flats that led to the death of a pensioner has told a jury it was ‘sad’ to hear how he died, but repeatedly denied starting the blaze.
Aiden Elmore allegedly set fire to a block of flats in Short Heath, Willenhall, and barricaded the doors to the building with wheelie bins.
Resident Victor Moore, aged 68, collapsed and died during the fire at the block of flats on Poets Estate.
Elmore is also accused of starting two other fires and another blaze at his ex-girlfriend’s home on October 8 last year.
The 21-year-old repeatedly denied starting the fire at the flats and two smaller blazes in Crab Lane when he took the witness stand at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday, saying: “No, that is not true. I totally disagree with that.”
When asked by prosecutor Miss Debbie Gould how he felt about the death of Mr Moore, he said: “I don’t see how that’s relevant.”
But when asked the same question by Mr Roger Smith QC, defending, he replied: “Obviously it’s sad to hear how Mr Moore died.”
Elmore said he went to the home of his ex-girlfriend Lauren Wellings, in Wychbold Way, New Invention, from his grandmother’s home in Keats Road on the night the blazes broke out.
But Miss Gould told the court that he had originally given a statement to police that he went from his grandmother’s home to the Poets Corner pub.
She said this was found to be untrue after CCTV was checked and he later admitted he was wrong.
Elmore said he must have been confused about the incident.
He admitted setting his jacket alight and throwing it in his ex-girlfriend’s garden but told the jury he had not attempted to burn the wheelie bin or door of the property.
Elmore, aged 21, 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 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.