Sharkey fire trial: Jurors told to put sympathies aside

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

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The jury in the Sharkey fire deaths murder trial has been sent out to consider its verdict.

Robert Jennings and Scott Snowden deny murdering Thomas Sharkey Snr, 55, his son Thomas Jnr, 21, and eight-year-old daughter, Bridget, by torching their home in Helensburgh on 24 July 2011.

Judge Lord Matthews told the 10 women and five men of the jury to set aside any feelings of sympathy.

Jurors were later sent home and will resume their deliberations on Tuesday.

Both Mr Jennings, 50, and Mr Snowden, 37, also deny a charge of attempting to murder Mr Sharkey's wife, Angela, 48, who survived the fire.

'Serious charges'

Giving his legal directions to the jurors at the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Matthews told them they must consider each accused separately and return separate verdicts.

He also told them to put any sympathy for those at the centre of the case out of their heads.

He said: "Sympathy, either for the accused who are facing serious charges... or for the victims, in particular the Sharkey family, must play no part in your deliberations.

"These are normal human reactions but you must simply put them out of your mind."

The judge, who had been giving his directions for about three hours, also told the jury: "At the end of the day, you have to return a true verdict in accordance with the evidence, without fear or favour and in accordance with your oath."

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