Leicester fire deaths: Man denies arson attack on family home

Kemo Porter
Image caption Kemo Porter's DNA was found on a lighter at the scene of the fire, the court heard

A man accused of murdering a family of four in a botched arson attack has told a court he "felt devastated" when he realised it was the wrong house.

Kemo Porter, 19, is the first to give evidence in the trial of seven men and one teenager accused of starting a fire at a Leicester home.

Mr Porter said he had been present but blamed a co-defendant for the fire.

All eight deny the murder of Shehnila Taufiq, 47, daughter Zainab, 19, and sons Bilal, 17, and Jamal, 15.

The Taufiq family died in the fire on 13 September.

Prosecutor Richard Latham QC has previously said that CCTV footage from the street shows eight figures walking towards the house, and three running away after the fire starts.

Mr Latham said the group had intended to target the family home of a man they believed had stabbed their friend Antoin Akpom, hours earlier.

However, he had lived two doors away from the house that was attacked in Wood Hill, Leicester.

On Wednesday, the jury at Nottingham Crown Court heard that Mr Porter's DNA was found on a lighter at the scene.

Image caption The court has previously heard the family's house was targeted by mistake

During questioning from his barrister Martin Helsop, Mr Porter claimed his co-defendant Tristan Richards was responsible for starting the fire.

He said he had given the lighter to Mr Richards an hour before the fire and had seen him start it.

Mr Porter, of Browning Street, Leicester, said the group had first intended to throw bricks at the house but later found out they had targeted the wrong one.

When asked why he had not called 999 right away he replied: "Every day I wished I had but I was in shock and my first instinct was just to run."

He said he had not called police because he had been threatened by Richards and he was "terrified of him".

"I thought he would stab me or set fire to my house," he said.

The other seven accused are:

  • Tristan Richards, 22, of Sparkenhoe Street, Leicester
  • Nathaniel Mullings, 19, of Farringdon Street, Northfield, Leicester
  • Shaun Carter, 24, of Franche Road, Leicester
  • Jackson Powell, 20, of Burnside Road, Leicester
  • Aaron Webb, 20, Saltersford Road, Leicester
  • Akeem Jeffers, 21, of Carr Mills, Buslingthorpe, Leeds
  • A 17-year-old youth, from Leicester, who cannot be named for legal reasons

The trial continues.

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