Teen denies Copleston High arson

A 16-YEAR-OLD boy has denied setting light to an Ipswich high school despite experts finding his footprint and DNA at the scene, a court heard.The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is standing trial at Ipswich Crown Court accused of burning down Copleston High School buildings with Ashley Norman who pleaded guilty to arson earlier this year.

A 16-YEAR-OLD boy has denied setting light to an Ipswich high school despite experts finding his footprint and DNA at the scene, a court heard.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is standing trial at Ipswich Crown Court accused of burning down Copleston High School buildings with Ashley Norman who pleaded guilty to arson earlier this year.

Former pupil Norman, 18, of Clifford Road, Ipswich, admitted causing damage estimated at more than £1million to repair. He has been remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced after the trial.

Martyn Levett prosecuting said three separate fires were started in the girls' gym and the staff room on August 27 last year just a week before hundreds of pupils were due to return after the summer holidays.

Mr Levett said Norman's girlfriend had ended their relationship on the night of the fire and a week later she had met with Norman and the 16-year-old at Newbury Park and the youth had confessed that he was involved in the arson with Norman and he had set light to the trampolines.

Fire officer Gary Clark said several attempts had been made to ignite the trampolines but another fire had been started on a wooden wall ladder in the gym.

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He discovered the footprint of a trainer shoe in dust on the gym floor and experts matched this with a shoe belonging to the youth and said it “strongly suggested” that it was his shoe.

Mr Clark, assistant divisional officer, noticed high windows in the gym which led onto a flat roof where another footprint was found.

Mr Levett said the roof led to the school staff room and on this roof two empty beer cans were retrieved and tested by forensic scientists.

Mr Levett said: “One of the beer cans had a DNA profile on it which matched the defendant's”.

The teenager admitted to police that he had been on the school roof and in the gym on the evening of the fire with Norman but said as soon as Norman started to light a fire on the trampoline he had run out of the gym fire door.

The trial continues.

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