Leeds Majestic blaze accused set to face trial in March next year

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A man accused of causing the fire which tore through the Majestic building in Leeds city centre has made his first crown court appearance.

Stewart Jefferson, 32, is likely to face a trial in March next year over the blaze which caused massive damage to the former nightclub site on September 30.

Jefferson, of Broadlea Street, Bramley, Leeds, is charged with arson and appeared at Leeds Crown Court today via a video link from Armley jail.

No pleas were entered during the brief preliminary hearing.

Jefferson, who appeared on screen wearing a purple pullover, spoke to confirm his name.

The court heard a full report into the blaze was not expected to be completed by West Yorkshire fire chiefs until the end of November.

Forensic reports are also yet to be completed.

A provisional trial date was set for late March next year and is expected to last five days.

Jefferson was told he will be remanded in custody until the next court hearing in relation to the case on January 2.

The Majestic’s owner, Leeds-based property company Rushbond, today told the Yorkshire Evening Post that it was still too early to put a figure on the damage caused by the fire.

Work was continuing to make the site secure and assess what repairs would have to be carried out, said a spokesman for the firm.

He also said it was hoped details of plans for the future of the Grade II-listed building would be available later this month.

Originally opened in 1922, the site had lain empty since its time as the Majestyk nightclub came to an end in 2006.

Rushbond recently completed a renovation of the high-profile City Square building with a view to letting it as a leisure destination.

16 March 2018 .......      The Yorkshire Post and Ward Hadaway  Yorkshire Fastest 50 awards 2018 held at Aspire in Leeds presented by John Murray, Keir Starmer, Greg Wright and Philip Jordan of Ward Hadaway. Picture Tony Johnson.

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