Glasgow & West Scotland

Sharkey fire deaths: Thomas Jnr shouted out for 'dad'

Thomas Sharkey Snr, Bridget and Thomas Jnr
Image caption Thomas Sharkey Snr, Bridget and Thomas Jnr died following the fire

The Sharkey fire deaths murder trial has been told how shouts of "get out" and "dad" were heard after the blaze took hold at their Helensburgh home.

Next-door neighbour Diane White, 67, told the High Court in Glasgow she was wakened at about 05:00 on 24 July 2011.

She said she heard Thomas Sharkey Jnr, 21, shout "dad" but then never heard his voice again.

Mrs White was giving evidence at the trial of Scott Snowden and Robert Jennings, who deny torching the house.

Thomas Sharkey Jnr and his sister, Bridget, eight, died in the blaze at their home in Scott Court on 24 July 2011. Their father, Thomas Snr, 55, died in hospital days later.

Both accused also deny a charge of attempting to murder Mr Sharkey's wife, Angela, 48, who survived the fire.

Mrs White told the court how she was wakened by noise coming from the Sharkey home at about 05:00.

'Black smoke'

She said: "It was just shouting. It was like 'get out, get out'".

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked: "Did you know young Thomas's voice," and she replied: "Yes." and added: "I heard him shout 'Dad'".

The retired catering manager said that she never heard his voice again.

Image caption Angela Sharkey was the only family member to survive the fire

She was asked what she did and replied: "I looked out the window and saw the flames coming out the front door of the Sharkey home and black smoke coming out the top.

"I got my husband out of bed and ran downstairs and dialled 999.

"There were people on the walkway telling us to get out. There were three people - they said they came from a party - they were hammering on doors trying to get people out."

Mrs White was asked how she would describe the fire and replied: "Fierce."

She said that the fire brigade arrived and added: "It seemed like a long time, but it wasn't."

The court also heard from taxi driver John Hann, 63, from Helensburgh.

He said that as he sat in the taxi rank at Helensburgh train station he saw two thick clouds of smoke at about 05:00.

'Shouting for help'

The witness told Mr Prentice that he drove in the direction of the smoke, which was coming from the first floor of the flat in Scott Court.

He added: "Tommy Sharkey was at the lower window and there was somebody at the upper window."

Mr Prentice asked: "Was Mr Sharkey senior inside or outside the flat?" M

Mr Hann replied: "He was still inside with his head out the window shouting for help."

Mr Hann said that the face he saw at the upper window was male and added: "I couldn't identify the person, but I assume it was Thomas junior."

The taxi driver said he drove round to the back of the block of flats and when he came back to the front again Mr Sharkey senior was on the ledge of the first floor window and there was no sign of anyone in the second floor window.

The jury was then shown a photograph which Mr Prentice described as "fairly graphic".

This showed Mr Sharkey Snr standing on a ledge in his boxer shorts with a plume of dark grey smoke coming from the window behind him.

Mr Hann said that he dialled 999 and went to the parking area at the back of the flats and saw that the Sharkey's front door was ablaze.

He told Mr Prentice: "There was a male person on the walkway connecting the flats and he said: 'There's no way you'll get to get anywhere near that.'"

Mr Hann told the jury that he never found out who the man was.

He said that flames were leaping two to three feet above the door and there was also smoke billowing.

Mr Prentice asked: "Was there any prospect of anyone entering the building?" and Mr Hann replied: "Not without proper equipment."

The trial before Lord Matthews continues.

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