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Simon Childs 'breached curfew' on night of fatal fire in Spitfire Road, Kings Hill

A 52-year-old man accused of murdering his mother-in-law breached his curfew on the night of the fire, it has been alleged.

Simon Childs breached his curfew on the night he allegedly started the death blaze in Spitfire Road, Kings Hill, a jury heard.

He had been ordered to remain at his mother’s home where he was living after assaulting his estranged wife, Mandy.

Simon Childs appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court accused of murdering his mother-in-law Jackie Allen (5507773)
Simon Childs appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court accused of murdering his mother-in-law Jackie Allen (5507773)

But Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC claimed that CCTV captured his image near his estranged wife’s home at the time the fire began.

“We know that the route he took was out of his door turning left, walking along Hurricane Road to the end, left into Mosquito Road and left again into Spitfire Road.

“The company monitoring his electronic tag has confirmed he went out of range for approximately 10 minutes, “ she claimed.

House fire and murder scene at Spitfire Road, West Malling. Picture: Matthew Walker. (5479692)
House fire and murder scene at Spitfire Road, West Malling. Picture: Matthew Walker. (5479692)

Ms Carberry said that between 8.54pm to 9.04pm he was not at his home.

“Simon Childs said he had not left his property that night but had gone to his van parked across the street.

“That is not true and could not be true because it would have been covered by the tag," she claimed.

House fire at Spitfire Road, West Malling.Picture: Matthew Walker (6117540)
House fire at Spitfire Road, West Malling.Picture: Matthew Walker (6117540)

The jury heard that at 9pm a terrified person inside the property made a four and a half minute 999 call to police.

Two calls –described as “distressing in nature” - were made to police that night and will be played to Maidstone Crown Court tomorrow.

The caller claimed that Childs was trying to get into the property where his mother in law was living and that they were “very scared indeed.”

Grandmother Jackie Allen, 65, died in a house fire in West Malling (6117495)
Grandmother Jackie Allen, 65, died in a house fire in West Malling (6117495)

Texts asking for help were then sent to a number of people, including to Childs’ estranged wife and her male friend in Eastbourne.

In one, the caller wrote: “I’m so scared. I need help.”

A second call was made to police seven minutes later after the smashing of glassand a smoke alarm had been activated.

Ms Carberry continued: “The caller said they could see flames and thought they were burning. They then jumped into the garden fracturing an ankle before hiding in a garden shed.

But the jury heard that 65-year-old Jackie Allen became trapped inside a smoke-filled bedroom along with a pet dog and they both died.

The prosecutor said a “large number” of neighbours, hearing the screams, “bravely came to help” but the ferocity of the blaze was too much.

Police at the scene after the blaze

Experts later carried out tests and revealed the fire was started by petrol inside a lean-to attached to the house.

Childs has denied murder, attempted murder and arson and the trial continues.

He is alleged to have made threats after his marriage broke up, including burning down the house.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

For information on how we can report on court proceedings, click here.

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