'I was only lookout' says arson accused
A TEENAGER has admitted acting as “the lookout” when a series of fires were started that destroyed a number of beach huts in Frinton, causing £90,000 worth of damage.
A TEENAGER admitted acting as “the lookout” when a series of fires were started that destroyed a number of beach huts in Frinton, causing £90,000 worth of damage.
Barrie Gable, 18, of Audries Estate, Walton, has pleaded not guilty to 19 counts of arson but yesterday a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court heard transcripts of police interviews in which he admitted being present when the blazes began.
The charges relate to events that took place in the early hours of July 2 last year when fires at four locations were lit that eventually damaged or destroyed more than 30 beach huts on Frinton seafront.
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The transcripts read out to the court covered a series of interviews conducted with Gable when he and two other teenagers were arrested last September after CCTV footage was released to the media.
During the interviews, Gable initially told officers he had been at home in bed at the time when the fires were started after spending a night out with friends.
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However, after further questioning, he admitted being present and later concocting a cover story with his co-accused.
He told officers: “I'll tell you everything - I'm not a grass. I was the one that stood back.
“I didn't want to do it. I didn't see much, I stood down on the promenade keeping an eye out.”
He told officers that his two friends must have started the fires and that the three of them went to sit on a hump-back bridge in Central Avenue and listened to music.
He described how they later saw the smoke rising from the seafront as they walked back into Frinton up Connaught Avenue.
Gable said: “I did see a little bit of smoke and as we got to the top it was getting bigger and bigger. We saw the smoke and that's why we don't talk to each other and hang around any more.”
Gable denied ever going in to any of the huts and said the closest he got was when he handed his mobile phone to one of his friends to use as a torch.
He added: “I was the lookout, and that's the truth. In my mind I wasn't involved.”
Aaron Boyce, 18, of Almond Close, Clacton, also denies the charges. A third boy, aged 17, has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at the end of the trial.
The trial continues.