A MAN accused of starting a fatal fire told the police ‘I know what this is all about, that arson thing’ when he was arrested, a court heard.
Drug dealer James Vaughan is alleged to have set light to a petrol can at a block of flats in Milton Road, Portsmouth, to frighten one of the residents, Freddie Fields, into paying back £30,000 he owed.
Kevin Holmes, 40, an innocent man who had nothing to do with Vaughan’s drug ring, died in the inferno while his friend, Karl Hubbard, 33, suffered severe brain damage.
Sergeant Nigel Boshein, based at Fareham, recalled the dramatic moment Vaughan was arrested, on February 4, last year.
The team of plainclothes officers bundled the 31-year-old, known as Scarface, to the ground, smashing his iPhone and leaving him with injuries to his face.
Asked by Christopher Parker QC for the prosecution whether Vaughan had said anything Sgt Boshein said: ‘Yes he did. He said “I know what this is all about, that arson thing”.’
Vaughan, who was arrested in Hove, East Sussex, was taken to Alton police station and carried on talking during the journey, Winchester Crown Court was told.
Referring to the Channel Four documentary The Force, which featured the police investigation into the blaze, Vaughan allegedly told the officer: ‘It’s all to do with the fire. I didn’t have any idea until I saw it on the telly.
‘What would anyone from Sussex have to do with anything all the way over there in Hampshire? I can’t believe this. When you said Hampshire I just knew it was this.’
Vaughan, of no fixed address but formerly from Brighton, denies manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm and arson.
He has admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine between June 2006 and February last year. Two others, Simon Collins, 30, of Marlborough Drive, Burgess Hill, and Vaughan’s older brother Gary Vaughan, of Brook Lane, Ferring, Worthing, both deny conspiracy to supply cocaine.