A fire expert yesterday told a murder trial that a blaze in which a 43-year-old father died was started by a naked flame.
Rebecca Jewell was giving evidence at the trial of Barry Henderson, 42, from Fraserburgh, who denies murdering Gordon Graham and attempting to murder his wife Anne by wilfully setting fire to 74 High Street, Fraserburgh, on May 3, 1998.
She told prosecutor Jim Keegan QC that she specialised in investigations into fire and explosions.
When asked where, in her opinion, the seat of the fire was situated she said: “The seat of the fire was on a small flight of stairs in front of the wheelie bin.”
She added: “The fire was caused in my opinion by a naked flame.”
A joint police and fire brigade report compiled in 1998 came to the conclusion that the fire was accidental and was likely started by a discarded cigarette dropped on a mattress lying in the hallway in the common close of the property.
Defence QC Brian McConnachie asked Ms Jewell: “As far as the analysis of the debris is concerned there were no traces of accelerant such as petrol of lighter fuel found,” and she replied: “There were no identifiable accelerant traces.”
Mr McConnachie then said: “You found nothing,” and she replied: “Just because accelerant wasn’t found doesn’t mean there wasn’t any. There could have been no accelerant or samples were taken from places where there had been no accelerant.”
The QC added: “There was no scientific evidence” and Ms Jewell replied: “No.”
Henderson denies all the charges against him and has lodged special defences of alibi and incrimination.
The trial before Lord Ericht continues.