Former employee denies having involvement in arson at Yarmouth firm

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A man accused of having hatched a plan to burn down his former workplace has denied any knowledge or involvement in the blaze.

Ricky Turner, 57, who formerly worked for SPX Ltd in Great Yarmouth, is alleged to have put up Aaron Cockrell to carry out the arson which caused £250,000 worth of damage and about £600,000 of losses to the company.

Norwich Crown Court has been told that Cockrell, 41, of Yarmouth Road, Ormesby St Margaret, has already admitted arson.

Prosecutors allege Turner was behind the attack on the Swanston Road-based firm as he was angry at being dismissed by the company after many years of service.

Richard Kelly, prosecuting, has said Turner crept into the offices while the cleaner was in the building and turned off the alarm system, before leaving a door unbolted.

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Turner, of Lawn Avenue, Great Yarmouth, has denied being involved in the arson attack on SPX between February 12 and February 15, in 2015.

Giving evidence on Friday (June 23) Turner said he had been upset at being suspended and then dismissed after he borrowed money, which he had done so previously.

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Jonathan Goodman, defending Turner, asked whether his client was so angry that he 'wanted to get revenge' against SPX.

Turner said: 'No'.

The defendant, who started working for a competitor to SPX shortly before the fire, was asked whether he had 'hatched a plan to take them (SPX) out of business.

Turner replied: 'No'.

The jury heard that Turner and Aaron Cockrell knew each other and had been in phone contact around the time of the fire.

Turner insisted they were in contact to discuss money that he was owed by Aaron Cockrell.

Mr Goodman said: 'Did you hatch up a plan to set fire to your ex-employers premises?'

Turner replied: 'No'.

Mr Goodman said: 'Did you agree with Aaron Cockrell or anyone else that they should do it?'.

Again Turner replied: 'No.'

Mr Goodman said: 'Did you have any knowledge that that might happen?'

Turner insisted: 'No'.

The trial continues.

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