Glasgow & West Scotland

Sharkey fire trial accused 'seen on CCTV'

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

A CCTV analyst has told a trial that one of the men accused of murdering a father and his two children was captured on film minutes before the fatal fire.

Det Con Jennifer Bell told the High Court in Glasgow that she viewed the clip, taken from a camera at the Shopsmart store in West Princes Street, Helensburgh, at least 100 times.

Scott Snowden, 37, and Robert Jennings, 50, deny murdering Thomas Sharkey and his two children family by torching their home in Helensburgh.

Thomas Sharkey Jnr, 21, and his sister, Bridget, eight, died in the blaze at their home in Scott Court. 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.

Det Con Bell told the court she was in Govan police station on 6 June 2012 and asked to help with a prisoner who was being processed in the cells.

She told prosecutor Alex Prentice QC: "On completion of seizing items from Mr Jennings in the cell, a turnkey came to the cell to remove Mr Jennings.

"When he was removed my colleague and I were putting clothing in evidence bags. He passed us and walked down the corridor.

"As soon as he walked down the corridor in front of me I turned to my colleague and I said: 'Oh my God. That's the walk I've seen on the CCTV from Shopsmart'."

Det Con Bell, who is a member of the major investigations team and has worked on anti-terrorism investigations, including the 7/7 bombing and the 27/7 bomb plot in London, was asked what it was she noticed about the walk and told the jury: "It's as if his feet are faster than the rest of his body, a kind of shuffle."

She told the court she had observed the walk in the corridor for about 10 to 15 seconds.

Mr Prentice asked her: "Have you ever seen anyone else walk like that?"

She replied: "No, not in my lifetime. As soon as I saw that walk I knew that was the walk of the person I had seen on the CCTV."

The prosecutor then asked "And that person is?"

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

Det Con Bell said: "Robert Jennings."

The police officer also told the court that in her opinion the person seen walking across John Street, Helensburgh, at the junction of West Princes Street was Jennings.

She also said she believed CCTV footage taken at the nearby Sheep's Heid lane was also Jennings.

DC Bell also examined CCTV footage at Jennings' home at Williamson Drive, Helensburgh.

She told the court a man she believed was Jennings got in a car at about 19:30 on 23 July 2011 - the night before the fatal fire.

Det Con Bell said she examined CCTV footage until 06:30 the next morning and saw no sign of Jennings.

Jennings has lodged a special defence of alibi saying he was home at Williamson Drive when the blaze occurred.

Det Con Bell has still to be be cross-examined by Jennings' QC Iain Duguid.

Part of the CCTV footage was shown on BBC's Crimewatch programme in September 2011.

The trial before Lord Matthews continues.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites