A FAMILY fled their burning home during a tumble dryer fire only to check their CCTV days later and discover it had been started by a neighbour.

Bolton Crown Court heard how David Beaver had to lead his wife and two disabled adult sons out of their smoke filled house in the middle of the night.

Outside, one of those watching as the fire service arrived was Isaac Brooks, who had lived in a first floor flat opposite Mr Beaver’s semi detached property in Sandpiper Close, Farnworth for several years.

Wayne Jackson, prosecuting, said Mr Beaver, his wife, Beverley Kelly and their sons Christopher, aged 27 and Adam, 25, went to bed at the evening of February 10.

Mr Beaver told the jury how, from his bedroom her heard Brooks, shouting: “You f***ing inbreds. I’m going to burn the lot of you.”

Mr Beaver said the shouting did not concern him because it happened regularly.

“My wife used to get a bit panicked about it but I took it with a pinch of salt,” he said.

But then, at 1.40am, Mr Beaver was woken by a loud bang.

When the electricity tripped and he heard a “rustling” noise in the kitchen, fearing burglars, he went downstairs to investigate.

“I opened the living room door and I just could not get in. It was so hot and it was just black smoke and I couldn’t see anything,” he said.

Mr Beaver told how he ran upstairs to lead his sons to safety before going back for his wife and the family’s Labrador, Marley.

“You couldn’t see a thing,” said Mr Beaver.

“Bev is lucky to be alive. She had taken sleeping tablets and was still in bed.”

Mr Beaver had to go into the house a third time after the dog broke free and ran upstairs again.

The fire was so severe that it took the fire service over an hour to extinguish it.

Giving evidence, Mrs Kelly told the court that the fire had been “terrifying”.

“It still is and I still have nightmares,” she said, adding that she had needed oxygen treatment from paramedics.

Damage, estimated at £30,000, was caused to the contents of the property and the family had to move out for three months while repairs were carried out Irwell Valley housing association property

“We lost everything — the whole house, you wouldn’t believe it. The only thing that survived was a marble table,” said Mr Beaver.

The family was initially told that the fire had started in their two-week-old tumble dryer in the kitchen, but four days later Mrs Kelly noticed that the house’s CCTV wires had been cut.

When Mr Beaver checked the system’s hard drive the next day with the insurance company’s forensic investigator they saw a man climbing over the garden fence and fleeing after pouring a liquid into the tumble dryer vent and onto the decking.

Mr Beaver told the court that he immediately recognised him as 41-year-old Isaac Brooks.

Mr Jackson said four days after the fire another neighbour, Paul Kerrigan, saw Brooks outside singing “Simply the best” and “Burn baby burn, disco inferno”.

During a search of Brooks’ flat, investigators found a washing up liquid bottle at the entrance to the bathroom — it contained petrol and Brooks claimed it was for his lawnmower.

A beige Crag Hooper jacket was also recovered which had melted fibres on the cuffs and a green camouflage jacket also had melted fibres.

Brooks denies arson with intent to endanger life and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered. The jury was told that he had admitted damaging the CCTV


“It doesn’t automatically make him guilty of the other two charges but is undoubtedly something you might want to consider when examining the overall evidence in this case,” Mr Jackson told them.

“Lets not forget to ask the question why you might cut the cable to the CCTV other than in an attempt you were not caught on camera.

The trial continues.