‘Burglar visited massage parlour before starting house blaze which killed father and daughter’

PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme

A father and daughter died after an alleged burglar torched their family home in a bid to cover his tracks, a murder trial heard.

A jury Andrew Broadhead, 42, and eight-year-old daughter Kiera were killed after Daniel Jones used petrol to set fire to their home in Wakefield.

PIC: Simon Hulme

PIC: Simon Hulme

Leeds Crown Court was told Jones had broken into a house near to their home on Ash Crescent, Stanley, three days earlier but returned in a bid to destroy possible incriminating footage from a CCTV camera at the property.

Andrew Broadhead, wife Sara, and their two children Kiera, and Mia, 13, had returned from holiday hours before the blaze.

The fire was started by petrol being poured through the letter box at 4.17am on October 19 last year.

Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, said Jones had burgled a neighbouring house three days earlier and stole a safe.

PIC: Simon Hulme

PIC: Simon Hulme

The jury was told he was under mounting financial problems due gambling debts and pressure to pay child support.

Jones, 29, returned to the scene after being accused of carrying out the break-in and made aware of the camera on the Broadheads’ home.

Mr Sharp said: “Daniel Jones did not set fire to the Broadheads’ house because he had some sort of grudge against them.

“He did this because he wanted to destroy evidence of another crime he had earlier committed.”

The jury was shown CCTV footage of the fire.

It shows a figure approaching the house before the blaze starts, then the person running away.

Neighbours tried to help the family as the house filled with fire and smoke.

They rescued Sara and Mia but the heat made it impossible for them to reach Andrew and Kiera.

The prosecutor said: “When the fire brigade arrived they found Kiera and Andrew. They had collapsed inside the house, near to the bedroom that they would have been trying to use to escape through. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.”

Mr Sharp told the jury that Jones carried out the burglary at the home of his friend, Ben Kaye, as he knew he had a safe with a large amount of cash inside.

CCTV from another house on the street showed delivery driver Jones arriving in his employer’s van outside Mr Kaye’s house in the early hours of October 16.

Jones later returned to his home in Knottingley and made an internet search for “How to break into a Yale safe”.

Mr Sharp said: “Opening the safe, though, soon became the least of Daniel Jones’s problems.

“Ben Kaye and his girlfriend made some local enquiries, heard about the video of the van that we have seen, and quickly became suspicious that Jones was the person who had stolen the safe.”

Mr Kaye challenged Jones about the burglary and told him there might be CCTV footage from the Broadheads’ home but said they were away on holiday.

Mr Sharp said footage had also been obtained of Jones walking past the Broadheads’ home.

A light was off on one occasion and off on another occasion.

Mr Sharp said: “One of the reasons, we say, he knew perfectly well there were people inside.”

He added: “He wanted to destroy that CCTV by setting fire to the house.

“But that inevitably meant he would also kill, or at the very least seriously injure, anyone asleep inside that house.”

Mr Sharp said Jones filled his van up with diesel in the early hours of October 19 before driving to Leeds.

The jury was told he drove to Dewsbury Road where he was captured on CCTV footage entering Winston’s massage parlour before leaving 20 minutes later.

The court was told he bought 3.75 litres of petrol at a garage nearby before driving to the Stanley area of Wakefield.

Mr Sharp said: “The morning after the fire, Daniel Jones and Ben Kaye had been in contact and Daniel Jones had been told by Ben everything he knew about the fire.

“Nevertheless, that night Daniel Jones was repeatedly searching on the internet to see what was being reported about the incident..”

Jones was arrested days later but denied responsibility for the burglary or the house fire and made no comment to questions.

Jones, of Spawd Bone Lane, Knottingley, pleads not guilty to two charges of murder and two alternative counts of manslaughter.

He also denies arson with intent to endanger life and an alternative charge of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Jones also pleads not guilty to burglary.

The trial continues.

Michael Tennant.

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