York & North Yorkshire

Malton jockey fire deaths conviction appeal upheld

Peter Brown
Image caption Peter Brown chose not to give evidence at his trial

A man jailed for a minimum of seven-and-a-half years for killing two young jockeys in an arson attack has had his conviction upheld.

Jamie Kyne, 18, from County Galway in the Irish Republic and Jan Wilson, 19, from Forfar in Angus, died in the fire at flats near Malton in September 2009.

Peter Brown, 37, of Brotherton, North Yorkshire, was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter last year.

Court of Appeal judges rejected claims it could have been an accidental fire.

Brown was given an indeterminate sentence by a judge at Leeds Crown Court when he was sentenced in December.

On Thursday, lawyers for Brown argued that his trial was unfair because the evidence did not rule out the possibility of an accidental blaze.

The court was told Brown was the caretaker at Buckrose Court, a block of flats, in September 2009.

On the night of 5 September Brown had an argument with a couple in the block after he tried to get into a house party.

He left and went to the pub before returning shortly after 0200 GMT and starting the fire in the building where many people were asleep.

The two jockeys died from the effects of smoke inhalation and burns.

Crown lawyers said Brown was impulsive, had a history of rowing with tenants in the building and was acting aggressively when emergency services arrived.

Around the time the fire started, Brown was spotted on the landing, muttering to himself and clutching a knife.

The court heard a fire alarm in the building had been tampered with using a knife in what was believed to be an attempt to disable it.

Brown's legal team also asserted the trial was prejudiced by evidence given by tenants relating to his character.

But Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting with Mr Justice Treacy and Judge Stephen Kramer QC, rejected the arguments.

Lord Justice Pitchford said: "We see no reason to doubt the safety of these convictions and the appeal is dismissed."

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