A Sandiacre man accused of the murder of three people who died in a fire at a flat in Langley Mill was heard shouting ‘Let’s get them.’ just hours before.
Peter Eyre, 44, and his sons Anthony and Simon Eyre, aged 22 and 24, are on trial each accused of three counts of murder. They all deny the charges.
The men, of Central Avenue, Sandiacre, are accused of deliberately setting fire to the flat in North Street in the early hours of June 21 last year. Amy Smith, 17, her six-month-old daughter Ruby-Grace Gaunt and Mr Gaunt’s friend Edward Green, 17, all died in the blaze.
On day five of the four week trial the jury at Nottingham Crown Court heard from six witnesses, who gave evidence relating to events that happened in the lead up to the fire. These included two police constables who had attended the men’s address just hours before, following reports of a disturbance, and the girlfriend of Aaron Henshaw, the younger brother of Anthony and Simon.
Neighbour Mark McKay said he looked out of his window twice after hearing shouting outside where he saw three men and a woman. He told the court: “I looked out of the window and saw four lads on the street this time, three on the street and one on Pete’s front garden.”
He said he recalled hearing a bottle smash and a door slam before the boys walked away laughing and talking. He then heard a car start.
He said: “As the car was pulling off I saw Peter and two males running up the street. Peter had something in his hand, I’ve no idea what it was, a bar or something. I heard Peter shout something along the lines of ‘if you want it come and get it.’ I then heard him say ‘Let’s get in the car’.
He described how he saw Pete’s car drive off ‘fast’ and soon after was aware of the blue flashing lights of a police car outside.
His wife, Karen, heard Peter Eyre shout ‘I’m not having this. Let’s get them.’
His wife, Karen, also gave evidence, describing how she was woke up by a disturbance and heard Peter shouting ‘If they want it they can have it, get in the car now’. Shaun Smith QC, for Eyre, suggested this was not what she had heard but she replied “I know what I heard.”
PC Thomas Craig told the court how he was called to the men’s address shortly after 1.30am. He said he and his colleague, PC Paul Charlesworth, spent between seven to eight minutes at the address but the men were not there. They later went back to the address, after seeing Eyre’s Skoda. They found Aaron, who was on a curfew, sprawled across the back seat of the car. PC Craig said he also saw a lump hammer on the back seat of the car.
Shaun Smith QC told the court that only notes in PC Craig’s pocket book referred to Aaron’s arrest and did not mention the hammer.
Aaron’s girlfriend, Lucy Fitch, 18, gave evidence via video link. She was at the Eyre’s house that night. She said that during the evening Aaron and Shaun Gaunt had been exchanging Facebook messages about a moped that Shaun believed Aaron has stolen from him.
Shaun then went to the property to talk to Aaron about the moped. She said the meeting ending with them shaking hands.
She said: “Peter came down because he heard voices outside and asked what was going on. I can’t remember what was actually said but he was on the phone to Gavin Brooks and said ‘I’ll put you all in body bags’. Shaun and his friends then left.”
She said Gavin Brooks then came to the house and left, then Shaun Gaunt came back. She heard raised voices with Shaun telling Aaron ‘I know you stole my bike,’ She claims Peter Eyre then threatened Shaun Gaunt with a hammer.
He then told his sons ‘Come on, we’re going out.’ and they got into the car. She said Anthony later returned to the house, put a jumper on, and left. The men returned after 4am.
The trial continues.