Derby

Langley Mill flat fire: Accused says plan was to 'smash up car'

Peter Eyre with his sons Simon and Anthony Eyre at Nottingham Crown Court
Image caption Peter Eyre said he drove to Langley Mill on the night of the fire with his sons Simon and Anthony Eyre

A father accused with his two sons of murdering two teenagers and a baby in a house fire said his only plan that night had been to "smash up a car".

Six-month-old Ruby-Grace Gaunt, her mother Amy Smith, 17, and friend Edward Green, 17, died in the house fire in Langley Mill, Derbyshire, in June 2015.

Peter Eyre, 44, said he was driving around near the house on the night of the fire with his two sons.

He said he was not part of any plan to kill anyone or start a fire.

'Stolen moped'

Mr Eyre told Nottingham Crown Court how he had driven his black Skoda to a street near the scene of the fire that night, but said he never got out of the car.

He told the court he thought he had dropped off his sons to "smash up" the car of some men who had threatened his family.

Mr Eyre said that earlier that night several people had repeatedly been to the door of his home in Sandiacre demanding to know the location of a stolen moped.

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Image caption Amy Smith, her daughter Ruby-Grace Gaunt and Ed Green died in the fire in Langley Mill, Derbyshire

He said one of the men, Gavin Brookes, was "very threatening".

Mr Eyre said he stayed in the car while his sons got out to "go and smash up the car" outside the flat in North Street.

Jurors previously heard Ruby-Grace's father, 18-year-old Shaun Gaunt, and another teenager who survived the fire were also inside the flat, but escaped with the help of neighbours.

Mr Eyre and his two sons, Simon, 24, and Anthony, 22, all of Sandiacre, deny murder.

The trial continues.

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