Charges were dropped over fierce fire which claimed man’s life

FATAL Firefighters tackle the blaze at the flats in Milton Road
FATAL Firefighters tackle the blaze at the flats in Milton Road
A man spotted on CCTV at robbery at Co-op in Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw on Saturday, July 22. Picture: Hampshire police

Robber chased by pub punters after threatening Co-op workers in Portsmouth

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POLICE say they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the fire that claimed the life of one man and seriously injured another as it ripped through a block of flats in Portsmouth.

The blaze was started when someone flicked a lit match into a can of petrol in the doorway to the flats in Milton Road, Portsmouth, just after midnight on September 17, 2007.

Kevin Holmes, 40, was trapped in his top-floor flat and died.

His friend Karl Hubbard, 33, was left with brain damage.

In total there were 30 men, women and children in the flats, most of whom were in bed asleep, when the flames took hold of the converted Post Office building.

Some residents were forced to climb out of their windows while others had to be rescued by firefighters who carried them down to safety.

James Vaughan was accused of manslaughter, arson and causing grievous bodily harm but in February, three weeks into his trial, the charges were dropped by the prosecution.

The problems for the Crown centred on the reliability of a key witness – one of Vaughan’s men who had turned against him.