Family attack legal system after arson case collapses

The family of an elderly couple killed in an arson attack on their home have condemned the “human rights” bias of the British legal system after no-one was brought to justice over their deaths.

Albert and Kathleen Adams Photo: PA
5:17PM BST 14 Oct 2011

Relatives of Albert and Kathleen Adams, who died of smoke inhalation after the fire in Rugby in February last year, claimed the justice system grants more human rights to those accused of crimes than to victims.

Their comments came after a 17-year-old boy who stood trial in connection with the fatal blaze was given a hospital order for starting a separate fire in the same street two days later.

Two counts of manslaughter brought against the teenager, who cannot be named, were not proceeded with after legal argument midway through his trial in February this year.

But the youth pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered in relation to the second blaze, in which no one was hurt.

Mr and Mrs Adams, both aged 77, died after a mobility scooter was set on fire outside their home in Harold Cox Place, Rugby, on February 27 last year.

Following today’s sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court, the couple’s family issued a statement which said: ”The family is very disappointed with the outcome of the trial.

”Because the evidence was not sufficient… the case collapsed and we feel very let down by the justice system.

”No justice has been given to our extended family or to our wonderful mum and dad.” The statement added: ”They were law-abiding people all their lives and brought their children up to be the same.

”They would help people wherever they could and are missed by everyone but especially by their grandchildren.

”The British justice system failed them and us. When you see the accused laughing and walking around freely in front of the victims’ family without any apparent cares, you wonder just who is ‘on trial’.

”Our family are still struggling to come to terms with mum and dad’s horrific and needless death.

”It is frightening when you hear of so many similar cases, just recently, of the accused being granted more ‘human rights’ than the victims or their family. British justice no longer helps the innocent parties but panders to the political correctness of a higher authority, or so it would seem to us who have sat and observed the trial’s ‘stops and starts’.

”We live in hope that one day mum and dad will get the justice they and our family deserve.”

The hospital order passed on the teenage arsonist means he will be detained in secure accommodation until he is deemed safe to be released.

Detective Chief Inspector James Essex, of Warwickshire Police’s Major Investigation Unit, said: “I regret that Mr and Mrs Adams’ family have not seen justice done for their loved ones.

“This was a complex and difficult case involving a number of young people as witnesses and a young suspect, who had learning difficulties.

“I do hope the family can take some solace knowing that this dangerous individual is not at liberty to cause further harm within the community.”

Warwickshire Police have said they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the fatal fire, which broke out in the early hours.

Nigel Reader, special casework lawyer from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service Complex Casework Unit, said: “This has been a complex case to prepare and prosecute not least because of the many competing interests involved, namely a number of young and vulnerable witnesses and a young defendant who has learning difficulties.

“The defendant’s motives remain unclear.

“No doubt this was a factor in the court deciding that the appropriate sentence was a hospital order.

“I would like to pay my thanks to the police for their thorough investigation and to the young witnesses

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