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Court hears of argument before fire

PUBLISHED: 22:51 22 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:14 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich man accused of burning down a friend's house told him that he was going to kill him minutes before the alleged arson attack, a court heard today.

AN Ipswich man accused of burning down a friend's house told him that he was going to kill him minutes before the alleged arson attack, a court heard today.

Thirty nine year old Kenneth Parry made the threat to Graham Luke Hilton, a man with whom he enjoyed "an up and down" friendship, after an argument between the two of them four days before.

Parry is charged with arson and endangering life after allegedly setting fire to the upstairs bedroom of Mr Hilton's Surrey Road home on October 12. He denies the charges.

Outlining the case for the Crown, prosecutor Charles Myatt told the jury at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court that Parry had met Mr Hilton, who is commonly known as Luke, some time in 1999 through Parry's brother David, a friend of Mr Hilton's for more than 20 years.

He said that Parry and Mr Hilton "shared an interest in alcohol" and at times drank to excess at pubs and each other's homes.

He described their stormy relationship but said the pair usually patched things up a few days later but last September the relationship had sunk to its lowest patch after an argument on October 8.

Four days later, Mr Myatt, continued, witnesses saw two men outside Mr Hilton's Surrey Road home where he lived alone apart from two dogs. One man was seen to kick down the front door while another man went upstairs to one of the bedrooms and began to throw clothes around. The man then appeared to throw something which appeared to be wrapped in a blanket and a fire started shortly afterward. One witness saw a man come out of the house stripped to the waist, saying "I can't find the dogs." Another witness recounted Parry visiting his house to ask for a jacket because he had lost his, said Mr Myatt.

Earlier in the evening Parry had been seen in the Falcon pub and seemed "very drunk" at around 6pm. The offence is alleged to have happened about an hour later.

The jury heard that Parry maintains he had been drinking all night in the Falcon pub but couldn't remember what time he left because he was so drunk.

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