Leicester

Leicester shisha cafe fire trial: Jury goes out

Shisha bar fire
Image caption Employees from the factory beneath the bar had to be evacuated in the fire

The jury has gone out in the trial of a man accused of setting fire to a shisha cafe causing £100,000 worth of damage.

Imtiyaz Patel, 28, is accused of starting the blaze which destroyed the Cloud 9 cafe in Curzon Street, Leicester, last October.

Mr Patel, had told police he set the fire "out of spite" but now denies a charge of arson and being reckless.

He told the jury he had given a false confession because he feared death threats from those responsible.

The prosecution told Leicester Crown Court that Mr Patel, of Herschell Street, in the city, had been friends with the owners of Cloud 9 while his own shisha cafe had been in financial difficulties.

Image caption Mr Patel told the court he had initially given a false confession to police

It took 14 fire crews several hours to bring the fire under control.

Workers at the Curzonia Knitwear factory below the cafe had to be evacuated when the fire broke out.

The jury was previously shown CCTV footage of Mr Patel forcing his way into the building on the morning of the fire and disabling the CCTV.

Mr Patel admitted he had cut off the image feed but said he had been forced to do so by two strangers who threatened him with a knife.

"They said if I didn't do the job they'd get my family", he said.

The jury will return to court on Wednesday afternoon to continue their deliberations.

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